Richard D. L. Fulton
(4/1) The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners is exploring ways to avert a tax increase for 2013, although it would likely result in reduced services or capital expenses for possible projects.
Town staff was directed by the board at their March 19 meeting to produce a draft budget that would cut town expenditures by potentially $140,000, a cut that would translate into property owners not seeing a tax increase in 2013.
The request to produce a budget slash stemmed from discussion generated by the stateís recent constant yield rate for Emmitsburg which claimed that the town had a net assessed real property base of $168,149,433.
The state Department of Assessments and Taxation reported that, as a result of that real property base amount, the town could expect $717,107 in revenue if it established a tax rate of 0.4265 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value.
The current tax rate is 0.36 cents per $100 worth of real estate.
Because of the recent reassessment which generally reduced the values of properties, the anticipated revenue would not really increase with a tax hike.
However, the increase in taxes would be needed to maintain the amount of incoming revenue from real estate taxes at the current level.
Board President Christopher V. Staiger suggested the town explore an option of not increasing the tax burden, and simply trying to get by with the reduction of revenue in 2013.
In spite of concerns over what the impact of cutting the 2013 budget might entail, the board agreed that the town staff should produce a balanced budget draft "based on 36 cents (per $100 in real estate value in taxes)."
"I canít imagine weíre going to get by without cutting spending," the board president stated. "Weíve got to step up to the plate too (along with the state and county governments)."
"We canít just throw up our hands," Staiger said. "Thatís my challenge to you (mayor and town staff)."
"Once youíve done that (produced a draft budget), then itís going to be on us (the board, to approve or reject it," he said.
Staiger said he did not want to see any staff considered, though, as a result of the reduction is revenue.
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