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Emmitsburg will hold 2009 tax rate steady

Ashley Andyshak
Frederick News-Post

(5/7) The town's tax rate will hold steady in 2009, according to the $1.9 million budget proposed Monday by Mayor Jim Hoover.

The property tax rate of 36 cents per $100 of assessed value has remained the same since 2006.

The budget proposes using $200,000 in fund balance money, or about one-third of the money in the town's surplus account, to help reduce the town's debt to the state retirement and pension plan.

Commissioners voted in 2006 to join the state plan, and a recent audit found that insuring town employees retroactively will cost nearly $1 million if paid in installments over the next 25 years. The mayor and board have since discussed finding ways to pay the $318,000 principal sooner to reduce interest payments.

The town will spend about $520,000 on employee salaries and benefits in 2009, including a 2.5 percent cost of living allowance commissioners approved last month.

The proposed budget also maintains funding for community events such as pool parties, concerts and the downtown farmers market.

Much of the $708,000 capital improvement projects budget, which is separate from the general operating budget, is focused on parks and includes a grant from the State Highway Administration for the first phase of the Community Park walking trails project, and a separate grant for paving and lighting at the town pool.

However, Hoover said the depressed housing market will limit the town's income from impact and permit fees in 2009. Of the 30 new homes proposed for Emmitsburg in fiscal 2008, only nine have been built, he said.

Commissioners will set the tax rate and have their first formal budget discussion at the May 19 town meeting.

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