Rising Sun to vote on debt service exemptions in Sept.
— Certain town properties with no possibility of future development could be exempt from the debt service assessment under a resolution introduced Tuesday night by the town board of commissioners.
In June, with the assessed value of property in decline, town officials raised the property tax rate from 40.6 to 48 cents per $100. To soften the blow, the town announced that about half of the monthly utility bill property owners were receiving would be re-classified as debt service tax and moved to the property tax bill, along with the cost of trash pickup. On average, that would raise the property tax bill about $384. The monthly bill would then only cover the cost of actual water and sewer usage.
The mayor and commis-
sioners had originally decided to roll the debt service onto the property tax bill so property owners would be able to deduct that amount from the income tax obligation. But not long after passing the resolution, the board heard from owners of undeveloped properties, which are not hooked up to utilities and do not place trash at the curb.
The resolution introduced Tuesday spells out which properties inside Rising Sun town limits would not have to pay the $384 flat tax.
Commissioner Dave Warnick spent several weeks researching the town tax rolls and discovered numerous properties that should be exempt from the tax. Mostly in the center of town, or adjoined to farmland at the edge of town, Warnick said these “legacy lot lines” were odd-shaped plots or plots that are so small or narrow that they’re useless for de- velopment.
The resolution defines a viable lot as one which can hold a primary structure. Those which are, or can be developed, pay the flat tax. Others would be exempt if the resolution gets passed in September.
The resolution offers this definition: “Any unimproved taxable property that in itself is not large enough to support the construction of a primary structure; or does not meet the minimum set back or building envelope requirements for a structure in accordance to the standards and codes set forth within the zoning district that the property is located, shall be exempt and not subject to the assessment.”
Warnick said eligible property owners who have already paid the flat tax would get a rebate.
The board expects to vote on the resolution at the Sept. 27 town meeting.