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Property Tax Overhaul in Montgomery County

by Tom Branham, Washington D.C., November 2020

 

Voters in Montgomery County, Maryland approved ballot questions to overhaul the county’s process for collecting property taxes and to expand the size of the county council for the first time in three decades.

 

The property tax issue that passed does away with an existing cap on the overall amount of property tax revenue the county can collect in favor of an annual cap on property tax rates. Supporters say this allows the county to take advantage of rising property values attributed to new development. Raising the property tax rate still requires a unanimous vote by the council.

 

The governance issue that passed restructures the council so that the number of at-large seats remains at four and the total number of seats on the council increases from nine to 11. The current council structure has been in place since 1990. Proponents said the change is necessary because of population growth over the past 30 years.

 

Support for competing ballot measures dealing with property taxes and the county council structure were defeated. The measure would have continued to cap total property tax revenue collection but also prohibited the county council from approving any increase above the rate of inflation. Finally, the competing measure dealing with the county council’s structure also failed to pass.