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Hearing on tax rates draws little interest; supervisors signaling no change

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm

MILFORD – The 5-cent increase in the real estate tax rate proposed by County Administrator Charles Culley generated only five minutes worth of opposition during a public hearing the Board of Supervisors held on tax rates for the next fiscal year.

In the 2013-14 fiscal year budget he proposed to the supervisors in February, Culley recommended increasing the real estate tax rate from 72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 77 cents.

However, the supervisors have indicated they are not inclined to raise the real estate tax rate as recommended by Culley.

“I feel confident we are not going to approve the rate as advertised,” Supervisor Floyd Thomas, board chairman, said during the board’s regular meeting Tuesday evening of this week.

Thomas and other members of the board also signaled their opposition to raising the real estate tax rate during a budget work session last week at which they began trimming some of Culley’s spending requests.

Only two people spoke during the board’s public hearing on the proposed tax rates.

“I’m against the tax rate hike,” said Bert Chenault, a retired farmer from Milford. “The majority of the people are against it. A lot of money is wasted.”

“I hope we won’t see a tax increase,” said Bonnie Cannon, who lives in Bowling Green. “A lot of people are retired. Every year, I get a tax increase.”

The supervisors were scheduled to hold another budget work session Thursday. They are scheduled to set the tax rates for the next fiscal year no later than April 9.

Culley also recommended increasing the personal property tax rate from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to $4.30, and he recommended a 12 percent increase in water rates.

The increases are necessary, in part, to pay for a 3 percent raise Culley wants to give county employees as well as employees of the county’s public schools. The additional revenue also is needed to pay more debt service the county must pay in the budget year that begins July 1. Culley also proposed adding a handful of new jobs.

Caroline County’s real estate tax rate has increased each of the past two years, and the Board of Supervisors also increased property taxes a year ago.