Will you be ticked off when your taxes go up? Will you be dismayed when the library is closed or when the city recreation department staff is laid off? Will you be annoyed when bored, boisterous youth roam the streets because there are no more after-school city programs? Will you be frightened when the police department is shut down?
Where will you take your anger, dismay, annoyance, and fear? To the city council? Too late! Wrong people!
The time to express yourself is NOW. The people are COUNTY councilmembers.
The county council is the source of this potential (but likely) disaster. They are snatching back a big chunk of the city’s tax rebate. But, it’s not too late to stop them – not yet.
The county chief executive wants to keep $600,000 of our rebate. The county council has the option May 20 to reduce that to $300,000. They also have the option to reduce that to $0, but few think they will go that far.
In addition there are county tax raises, new taxes, and the 5% cut the county executive made a few months ago. All told, says Mayor Williams, the city could lose $800,000. The results could mean a raise in taxes, or the closure of a city department, or layoffs, or program and service reductions – or all or a combination of these.
Give a Holler
Want to yell at somebody about it? The county council e-mail addresses follow. You can also use the council’s call-in line at 240-777-7802 where you can leave comments about anything relating to the budget.
Here is the situation in a nutshell from which you can take your “talking points.”
The county pays tax rebates to municipalities. The rebate money is the portion that would have paid for county services such as police and public works. Since the city provides those services instead, the money goes to the city.
This year (fiscal year 2010) the county’s rebate to all municipalities is $7,500,000. Takoma Park gets $3,000,000. Of that, $2,500,000 is our police rebate, which none of the other municipalities get.
The county council has already cut 5% of next year’s rebate (assuming it would have been the same amount as this year’s). Recently, county executive Ike Leggett has proposed an additional 20% cut to all municipalities. The county council approved it. This would mean Takoma Park would not get $600,000 of its resident’s tax money.
When the county council “reconciles” the budget Thursday May 20, it is possible they might restore that 20% cut, or they may restore 10% – half of it. This would mean $300,000 would be cut from Takoma Park’s rebate.
If any of the cuts are made, they are unfair to Takoma Park, says Mayor Bruce Williams. The full cut would slash the city police budget 25%. The county police budget has been cut only 3.9%.
The mayor says that to be fair, the county council should split the rebate amount so that the Takoma Park police rebate is in line with what the County is cutting their police – 3.9%. Then, take the remainder and divide it among the municipalities.
Resident Seth Grimes sent a letter to use as a model
Dear County County Members,
I oppose any proposal to further reduce Montgomery County’s tax rebate to the City of Takoma Park for FY2011 – $607,000 had been proposed – on top of the 5% reduction already introduced. Please vote against this reduction, which is unfair and out of keeping with the understanding and expectation that the county will rebate tax receipts for services delivered by the city and not the county. The county’s rebate already falls far short of fully covering the cost of those services, the cost the county would pay to deliver them in Takoma Park. Further, the cut is out of proportion to the cut the county plans to make in its own service delivery, of police funding in particular.
Please vote against the proposed reduction in the Montgomery County rebate to the City of Takoma Park.
Send your letter to Council Chair Nancy Floreen
Your letter will be automatically cc:ed to the other councilmembers. or you can write directly to them:
The county website has budget information. It appears to consist of a bunch of pdfs you have to download. Be warned that he county assumes all of its residents are on a high bandwidth internet connection, have up-to-date browsers, and use a PC.