The town’s real property tax rate will not increase in the next fiscal year, even as a “proposed real property tax increase” was put forth in a recent newspaper advertisement.
The real property tax rate is slated to remain the same at $.54 per $100 of assessed value for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which begins July 1. That is above the state’s constant yield rate of $.5186, however, meaning the town is required by the state to advertise a “tax increase” and hold a public hearing.
The public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 15 in Room 4 at the McFaul Activity Center, 525 W. MacPhail Road.
The constant yield tax rate is established by the state so, as property assessments increase, the constant yield tax rate will generate revenues in the coming fiscal year that are consistent with revenues earned in the current year.
The Town of Bel Air projects an increase in real property tax revenue next year, even as the real property rate remains the same. Real property revenue, which supports the general fund, is expected to climb from slightly more than $8 million this year to $8.35 million next year, according to the FY24 draft budget. Town officials anticipate generating $331,145 in new real property tax revenue in fiscal 2024.
Total general fund revenue -- which include more than $2.3 million in federal pandemic relief funds provided via the American Rescue Plan – is expected to increase from $16.4 million this year to $18.4 million next year, according to the budget. The general fund supports town services such as public safety, public works, planning and zoning and economic development.
If Bel Air lowered its real property rate to be in line with the constant yield rate, the town would lose about $310,000 in revenue, or about $155,000 per penny of the real property rate, according to Finance Director Lisa Moody.
The constant yield law “exists solely for the benefit of the taxpayer – it represents a clear and direct opportunity for citizen input to influence the level of property taxation,” according to a Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation web page.
The state conducts an annual assessment of property values in its 24 jurisdictions. Properties in the 23 counties and Baltimore City are separated into three groups, and each group is assessed every three years. The Group 2 properties – Bel Air and the surrounding areas in Harford County – were assessed for 2023. Statewide, those Group 2 properties increased in overall value by 20.6% from Jan. 1, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2023, according to a Dec. 29, 2022 news release from MDAT.
Commercial and residential properties in the Bel Air area saw their property values increase by a combined 16% over the three-year period. Those values had increased by a more modest 5.6% as of the prior triennial assessment in 2020. Statewide, property values for Group 2 went up by 8.9% three years ago, according to the news release.
Contact Media and Public Relations Specialist David Anderson at 410-688-3020 or email@example.com.