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Hagerstown council OKs budget

tax rate the same

May 26, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to keep the property tax rate unchanged as it adopted its fiscal year 2010-11 budget of $134.8 million.

City residents will see their overall real estate taxes lowered by 6.8 percent as a result of the steady city tax rate and a reduced county tax rate, according to documents provided by the city.

Washington County adopted a shift in its taxation system for municipal residents in May that reduced the tax rate for residents of Hagerstown and the county's eight towns by 12.5 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The county previously provided a rebate to municipalities for services that residents get from the municipality rather than the county.

Despite declining revenue, the city council voted to keep the property tax rate at 78.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. The tax rate and the budget passed with no discussion.

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Total spending in the budget will fall about 16 percent below the city's current budget, according to City Finance Director Alfred Martin.

Previous debate cut $65,000 from the initial proposed budget of $134.9 million, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

The city will order all employees to take either 10 furlough days or a combination of five furlough days and five unpaid work-stop days to save about $720,000, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner has said.

Cutting back on expenses will force the city to do more with less, Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood said previously. A sluggish economy will force governments and nonprofits to find more creative ways to use public money, she said.

The budget included total or partial cuts to local nonprofits, including Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership and the CSAFE after-school program.

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