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Property taxes could go up if assessments increase, even though Hagerstown rate will stay the same

April 29, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK | holly.shok@herald-mail.com

Although the City of Hagerstown on Monday announced plans to keep the property tax rate the same for the upcoming fiscal year, a raise in assessments will cause property owners to still pay more.

The estimated real property assessable base will increase by .27 percent, from $2.57 billion to $2.58 billion at the start of the tax year beginning July 1, according to a notice from City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman published on page A5 of Monday’s Herald-Mail.

In order to maintain the constant yield — the amount the city collected in property tax revenue this current fiscal year — the city would need to lower the current property tax rate.

If the city maintains the current tax rate of 78.8 cents per $100 of assessed property value as proposed, real property tax revenues will increase by .269 percent and the city will collect an additional $54,627 in property tax revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, the city’s Director of Finance Michelle Burker confirmed Monday.

The tax rate of 78.8 cents per $100 of assessed property value has been in effect since fiscal year 2008-09, Burker said.

As of earlier this month, the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year cites the city’s general fund at $37.8 million, $24.4 million of which accounts for property tax revenue.

No significant changes to the proposed budged have since been identified, Burker said Monday.

“At this time the property tax rate is proposed to remain the same; however, the budget has not been formally approved by the mayor and council,” Burker said.

According to an April 26 memo from Zimmerman and Burker to the mayor and Hagerstown City Council, the budget for fiscal year 2013-14 is scheduled for adoption at a meeting at City Hall on May 21.

A public hearing on the proposed real property tax rate will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, in the council chamber at Hagerstown City Hall, 1 E. Franklin St.

The budget hearing, according to the memo, is also slated to be held May 14.

“It offers residents and property owners the opportunity to discuss the proposed tax rate. In addition, interested persons are given the opportunity to discuss items proposed in the budget, or recommend items for future consideration in (the) city’s budget,” Burker said.

The city was last reassessed in December 2010 when most property owners saw a decrease in their assessed value, Burker said.

The average decrease was 11.2 percent, she said.

The next triennial reassessment is scheduled for December 2013 and will be effective in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017, Burker said.

“Based on recent reassessments throughout the county, the city is expecting an average decrease in assessed values of 8 percent,” she said.

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