GRANOLAPARK: Whose money?

GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT

Dear Readers,

The city got a tax rebate from the county for tax duplication!

That’s what Seth Grimes reports on his blog, Facebook page, and in notes to city email lists.

He asks citizens to weigh in on what to do with this money – $653,220 – warning that some on the council  “would have the city retain the funds and not reduce tax rates.”

Not councilmember Grimes! No-sir-ee!”

He thinks the city should “apply this tax-duplication payment… to reduce tax duplication” by reducing the tax rate.

The tax rate is up for the final reading TONIGHT, Dear Readers. So, if you have an opinion, contact your councilmember now or plan to show up to comment at 8:00 PM in the council chambers.

A quick primer on two points.

1) “Tax duplication” has been a huge sliver on the city’s buns for decades. City taxpayers pay for both county and city services. In this case, the service is the police force. Our tax money goes to the county and supposedly the county passes back the amount needed to run city services. So if the city provides a service that replaces the county’s (trash/recycling pickup, library, police), the city should get that bit of money the county would have spent on city residents for those services. The county hasn’t always done that to the city’s satisfaction.

So, our elected city politicians and city staff have been hopping up and down about this for at least 30 years. There have been negotiations through that time. The county has made concessions, it has also stalled, and it has even stiff-armed the city because the county has the power to do so. This rebate for police services is a pleasant surprise.

2) – The tax rate is the percentage the city adds to home-owners’ property taxes – on top of state and county shares. Each year the council and staff decide the tax rate for the next fiscal year. That determines how much revenue the city will get – and what it can afford. The council was set to vote on that rate tonight, May 21.

This rebate may change that – or the council may have a rationale for keeping the funds for city expenses.

– Gilbert

 

About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.