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Board drops town tax rate

Stephanie Mlot
Frederick News-Post

(5/29) Thurmont 's Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to drop the town's tax rate by 1 cent to 26 cents at Tuesday's town meeting.

Last year's rate was 27 cents per $100 of assessed property value, Mayor Martin Burns said, and because of local properties' increased value, the town had to reduce the rate.

"Eight of the last 10 years (the rate) has gone down, or we've been able to reduce it," said Burns.

According to the Maryland State Department of Assessments Taxation, the constant yield tax rate is the rate that the jurisdiction would have to impose in order to obtain the same amount of property tax revenue in fiscal 2010 as it received in fiscal 2009.

The mayor explained that next year's budget, currently in discussion by the board, is based on a 26-cent tax rate, leaving the budget unchanged by the reduction.

Burns compared Thurmont 's number with Brunswick 's 42-cent rate. "We're a lot cheaper," he said. "There are others cheaper than us, but we have our own police force and we have 35 town employees."

By law, towns must advertise any tax increase and hold a public hearing before setting the new rate. Commissioner Glenn Muth said Tuesday that in the past, Thurmont has always publicized the board's consideration to raise the tax rate.

"We had to do that because it was an increase above the constant yield," said Rick May, the town's chief financial officer. "We didn't have to do that this year."

Municipalities are exempt from the rule if they maintain the same tax rate, the Department of Assessments Taxation said.

"I'm very happy that the residents overwhelmingly have accepted what we've set as the tax rate," Burns said. "It's times like this when we've been able to reduce it. Other times we've kept the constant yield."

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