Port De­posit look­ing at min­i­mal bud­get in­crease

Em­ploy­ees to re­ceive small raise with health care hike

Cecil Whig - - & - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— The town coun­cil is cur­rently mulling a pro­posed fis­cal year 2017 bud­get that holds the line on prop­erty and util­ity taxes.

On be­half of Mayor Wayne Tome, town fi­nance di­rec­tor Ted Sooki­asian in­tro­duced the spend­ing plan that

PORT DE­POSIT County Coun­cil ap­proves his­toric tax credit

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— The county’s his­toric tax credit pro­gram al­lowed Ce­cil County Coun­cil to ap­prove a $2,421.40 prop­erty tax credit on Tues­day for Elk­ton cou­ple Pa­tri­cia Doyle Folk and Edgar Folk III.

The pro­gram is for own­ers of his­toric prop­er­ties in Ce­cil County who make ren­o­va­tions or restora­tions to their prop­er­ties. They can ap­ply for a tax credit of 10 per­cent of the doc­u­mented ex­penses for a prop­erty de­ter­mined to have his­tor­i­cal value.

The credit is only granted for the same tax year the ex­penses were in­curred and shall not ex­ceed the to­tal amount of prop­erty taxes owed that year.

The Folk’s his­toric prop­erty is known as Keif­fer Brick House and is lo­cated at One Old Farm House Road in Elk­ton near the Ce­cil County YMCA.

They pre­sented doc­u­mented re­ceipts in the amount of $24,214 for the restora­tion work done, which was re­viewed and rec­om­mended for ap­proval by the His­toric District Com­mis­sion. Their to­tal cur­rent prop­erty tax bill is $3,209.96.

ELK­TON

projects $ 621,092 in rev­enue and the same amount for ex­penses in the fis­cal year, which be­gins July 1.

Sooki­asian told the board that the Mar yland De­part­ment of As­sess­ments gave Port De­posit a con­stant yield rate of 54.89 cents, but he ad­vised main­tain­ing the 55.1 cents per $ 100 as­sessed value rate on prop­erty val­ues, not­ing that to round off ei­ther num­ber made it the same. He added that the DAT made a last- minute change that re­in­forces main­tain­ing the town’s tax rate.

“As soon as they gave us the con­stant yield, they low­ered our base,” Sooki­asian said, not­ing the change in as­sess­ments to two prop­er­ties low­ered the value of prop­erty by $ 305,000.

How­ever, Sooki­asian said Port De­posit has, for the last sev­eral years, col­lected more rev­enue than an­tic­i­pated through prop­erty taxes. The fis­cal year 2015 bud­get pro­jected $ 440,359 in rev­enue, but ac­tual re­ceipts were $ 470,289. In the cur­rent fis­cal year, the town is on track to col­lect al­most as much, while the amount bud­geted was $ 463,000.

Since Ce­cil County op­er­ates the town’s waste­water plant and Arte­sian Wa­ter Mary­land owns the wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, there are no en­ter­prise funds to man­age. An­other ma­jor ex­pense was re­moved when the town made the move from hav­ing its own po­lice de­part­ment to con­tract­ing for such ser vices with the Ce­cil County Sher­iff’s Of­fice. Pub­lic safety now amounts to a fifth of the to­tal bud­get.

At least two line items in the bud­get are merely es­ti­mates, Sooki­asian said. The com­fort sta­tion in Ma­rina Park only re­cently went into ser vice while the Tome Gas House will open for tourists a year from now.

“So the Gas House will be open half the year in­stead of three- quar­ters of the year,” he said of the bud­get cy­cle.

A lit­tle more than $ 14,000 was bud­geted for the cur­rent year, but that amount is pro­posed to blos­som to $ 18,169 in next fis­cal year.

The Gas House, the for­mer cen­ter of heat and light for the Ja­cob Tome Man­sion and the Ja­cob Tome In­sti­tute, is be­ing con­verted into a tourist cen­ter and also an ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter for Tow­son Univer­sity’s north­ern map tur­tle project.

The hand­ful of town em­ploy­ees would re­ceive a 2 per­cent pay raise in the pro­posed bud­get. Health in­surance costs will also in­crease 10 per­cent, which amounts to an ex­tra $ 5 per pay pe­riod, Sooki­asian said.

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