Port Deposit looking at minimal budget increase
Employees to receive small raise with health care hike
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
— 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.
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.