SPECIAL WORKSHOP MEETING
MAYOR AND COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 23, 2023
Mayor Foster called the Special Workshop Meeting of the Town Council to order at 6:00 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland, and W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager). Also, in attendance were 20 or so local citizens and several visitors from the Town of Rock Hall, MD.
Mayor Foster stated that the workshop meeting was held for the Council to discuss the best way to broach the issue of tax differential or tax offsets with Kent County. He explained the history of property tax set-offs in Maryland and the differences between the “must” and the “may” counties. In “must” counties, a tax set-off must be established if it is demonstrated that a municipality performs services in lieu of similar county services or programs. In “may” counties the governing bodies are mandated to meet annually and discuss the issue of whether a municipality performs services in lieu of similar county services or programs—at which point the county “may” establish a lower tax rate for said municipalities or rebate the taxes to them.
The Council reviewed the impact of asking for a tax offset for town taxpayers by using a chart with the resultant fiscal impact on the County by each penny reduced in Chestertown alone ($61,798.81 per penny). The impact of a $.05 reduction would amount to a commitment of $308,994.05.
There was a discussion of whether the Town should request specific capital items or in-kind services from the County and whether MOU’s would be used for that or used after an offset was agreed to.
Mr. Foster noted that it might be important to follow a formula or model that is used by most counties or has been successfully used by “may” counties. He also felt that a tax differential study, like the one done during Margo Bailey’s term of office, would be a useful tool in the discussions held by the Town and the County.
Councilwoman Efland moved to adjourn the Special Workshop Meeting at 8:15 p.m., was seconded by Councilman Herz and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor