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Tax rebates on the way to homeowners

"We want to help them stay in their homes, and we want to encourage homeownership in Washington County by giving back to people

"We want to help them stay in their homes, and we want to encourage homeownership in Washington County by giving back to people

June 24, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Tax rebates in the amount of $150 are on the way for many Washington County taxpayers.

The county plans to mail the checks next week to more than 36,000 homeowners.

Homeowners who have principal residences in the county and who were on the tax roll as of July 1 will receive the rebates, according to a written statement from the county.

The rebates are part of a package of measures approved by the County Commissioners intended to relieve some of the burden of rising taxes.

The rebates will cost the county about $5 million, money that the commissioners set aside from the fiscal 2005 and 2006 budgets, County Commissioner John C. Munson said by phone Friday.

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"Because the County Commissioners have been real conservative with the taxpayers' money, we feel (taxpayers) deserve to get back what wasn't needed those years," Munson said.

Munson said the rebates likely would help lower-income homeowners struggling with higher tax bills.

"We want to help them stay in their homes, and we want to encourage homeownership in Washington County by giving back to people what we can," Munson said.

The commissioners approved the rebates in April.

The commissioners also agreed in April to set aside $1 million in the fiscal 2007 budget, which begins July 1, for a county homeowners' tax credit program.

The program will allow a tax credit to households with incomes below a standard set by the state, according to a written statement from the county.

The commissioners earlier this year voted, at the urging of the local delegation, to lower the cap on rising property assessments from 10 percent to 5 percent.

The lower cap will become effective in fiscal 2008, which begins July 1, 2007.

The county has posted more information on the tax rebates at www.washco- md.net. More information may be found on the rebate check stubs or by calling 240-313-2309, according to a written statement.

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