New Property Tax Rates May Not Bring Higher Bills for All - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Property Tax Rates May Not Bring Higher Bills for All in Wicomico Co.

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SALISBURY, Md.- The city of Salisbury and Wicomico County have passed their budgets, and each spending plan comes with new, higher tax rates for residents.  But because of declining property assessments, those new rates do not immediately equate to more money out of pocket for everyone.

Salisbury resident Barrie Smith has been living in the city for more than 40 years. Hearing the words "higher property tax rate," was not something he was looking forward to.

"I've been retired for a number of years, the income is not going up," said Smith. "As a matter of fact, every time we get a raise in our Social Security, they take more out of it to cover something else.  So I am not really thrilled with it."

But for Smith and others in the county and city, it is not that simple. If a property value for a $150,000 home did not change from last year to this year, the owner would see an increase of about $90 in the property tax bill from the county, and another $97.50 increase in the city property tax bill. But because property values have been falling, figuring out a tax bill will be done on an individual basis.

"Each person is going to have to individually go to that assessment paper that they get, see what their drop has been over the last several years and if it has been a big one, which many people have seen that, you're rate is actually going to be lower than it was before because it dropped so far," said Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton.

In fact, the mayor went on to say that nearly half of the property owners in Salisbury will see a decrease in their property tax bill from last year, despite the rate being higher.  Both the county and city used the constant yield rate, which will bring in the same amount of revenue as last year.  Barrie Smith said he had seen a significant drop in his home value, which could ultimately mean not having to pay a higher total that would have been difficult to come up with.

"Always tougher to afford.  I don't have a boss behind me saying, well we'll give you another two dollars an hour raise because that just doesn't happen," said Smith.

In Wicomico County, the rate increased from $8.40 per $1,000 of assessed value to about $9 per $1,000.  And in the city of Salisbury the rate went from $8.19 per $1,000 to $8.94 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

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