Salisbury Mayor Proposes City Property Tax Increase - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Mayor Proposes City Property Tax Increase

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(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

SALISBURY, Md.- Mayor Jim Ireton proposed Salisbury's budget on Tuesday.  The $53 million budget calls for an increase in property taxes.  This could affect more than half of homeowners in Salisbury.

Ireton said he needs the tax hike in order to maintain the same income the city received last year.  The city has not seen an increase in taxes since 2008.  With property values dropping, Ireton said raising the property tax would ensure that the city gets the same amount it did last year.

The money will go toward maintaining law enforcement, emergency medical services, infrastructure and downtown revitalization.  

Not every homeowner can afford a tax increase, according to some Salisbury residents who spoke with WBOC. Regina Orr said, "I think that's very bad for senior citizens, especially."  She said many people in her age group do not have retirement savings to live off of and instead ljust ive off of Social Security.

Others, like Gerald Savage, see value in the proposed tax increase.

"I'm for the proposed tax hike if its going to ensure the infrastructure of our community and government," Savage said.

Ireton said if the city does not see an increase, there could be some consequences.

"In the end, if we don't raise the constant yield now, its going to mean a loss of $7-8 million going out to say 2017," he noted. "You've got to stay constant in what it is.  We've already furloughed. We've already frozen positions. We've already let people go."

Although Ireton is proposing an increase in property tax rates, he is also proposing to lower water and sewer rates.  He said that at the end, it should balance out.  Not everyone agrees with this strategy.

"We have to take a look at that because what that does is give a break to people who are not city residents on the water and sewer," said Councilwoman Terry Cohen. "And we have some very large water and sewer projects coming up."

Cohen said that six years ago, Salisbury was hit with a double-digit tax increase, and almost all of the money went into surplus.  She thinks a tax hike may not even be necessary.

The five members of the City Council will consider Ireton's proposed budget for the first time Thursday.  Changes are expected, and this will just be the first of several hearings.

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