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Hagerstown councilman proposes property tax cut

Brubaker's plan would cut 2 cents off every $100 of assessed value

Brubaker's plan would cut 2 cents off every $100 of assessed value

May 14, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- During a Hagerstown City Council work session Tuesday, Councilman Martin Brubaker introduced proposals that would cut property taxes and reduce the city's cost to extend Eastern Boulevard.

Brubaker's first proposal would lower property taxes 2 cents for every $100 of the assessed value of a home.

The proposal, for example, would save the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $20 per year, said Alfred Martin, city finance director.

Brubaker said after the work session that he decided to pitch the idea to help offset the ever-increasing cost of living and a city proposal that could increase water and sewer rates by as much as 6 percent. In addition, the city can afford to give taxpayers a break because Hagerstown recently received almost $1 million in grants to help fund the Hagerstown Fire Department and a $220,000 stipend from the hotel-motel tax, he said.

"We should give some of it back to the taxpayers," Brubaker said.

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Brubaker's second proposal would reduce the amount of money that the city would pay to help fund a $5.57 million project to extend Eastern Boulevard from Antietam Drive to Marsh Pike. As it stands, the city is slated to pay 25 percent of the project's cost.

Brubaker said the city should pay closer to 10 percent to 15 percent of the cost and let private developers and the county cover the rest. The reduction is needed, Brubaker said, to help city residents - who are double-taxed by the city and county.

Brubaker also proposed moving bond funds that are earmarked to renovate City Hall in fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2010-11. That money could be used instead to help residents replace their curbs and sidewalks, he said.

Brubaker's proposals met with mixed reactions from some of council members and city staff.

Martin said he would have to work Brubaker's figures to determine whether the proposals are feasible.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he supported reducing the amount that the city would pay to fund Eastern Boulevard, but he and other members of the council wouldn't commit to reducing property taxes.

The council agreed, however, to study Brubaker's proposals further.

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