For the past four years, the town’s revenues have substantially exceeded its expenditures. The town’s budget surplus in fiscal year 2022 was over $200,000 and its liquid assets had grown by the end of February 2023 to over $2.3 million.
Since 2018, the Town of Laytonsville has derived more money each year from income tax revenues than from any other category of taxes or fees. A portion of residents’ state and county income taxes are allocated to the town each year, and, as the town’s population has grown and its residents have prospered, the town’s annual revenues from those income tax receipts more than tripled between 2017 and 2022. The town’s property tax revenues have also grown over that same period, without any change in the tax rate, but they have not quite doubled. The growth in the town’s expenditures over the same period has been held to an even slower rate, and this has produced surpluses that have risen each year since 2017. With revenues from income taxes rising so substantially, a reduction in the municipal property tax rate is now appropriate.
I believe that the town now has adequate cash reserves for its foreseeable needs and should seek to set a municipal property tax rate that, together with other income sources, would more closely correlate with its pattern of expenditures. I moved to Laytonsville in 2005, and in that year the municipal property tax rate was 16 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Over the next decade the tax rate was reduced three times, then raised once, and then reduced twice more, bringing it by 2015 to a rate of 9 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That represents an overall rate-reduction of 44 percent over the decade before 2015. Since then, however, the municipal property tax rate has stayed at 9 cents per $100 of assessed property value each year. In light of the town’s growing budget surpluses, I believe that the town should once again reduce its municipal property tax rate.
A municipal property tax reduction this year will be particularly timely in light of our county executive’s proposal for a significant increase in the county’s property tax rate, Such an increase will affect town residents as well as by those living elsewhere in the county. But at least Laytonsville can diminish the impact of a county property tax rate increase on its residents by reducing its municipal property tax at this time. The town will hold a public hearing over Zoom on June 6 on its budget and property tax rate for the fiscal year beginning on July 1. I urge residents both to support me for mayor in the election on June 12 and to join me in calling for a lower municipal tax rate at the town’s budget and tax-rate hearing on June 6.