County Council Approves Municipal Tax Duplication Legislation
Rockville’s Mayor and Council played a vital role in a big win for county municipalities in March, helping to secure money to reimburse incorporated towns and cities for property tax duplication collected by Montgomery County.
The County Council on March 1 unanimously approved the legislation, making county municipalities eligible for millions of dollars in reimbursements that were significantly underfunded for more than two decades.
Tax duplication occurs when the county and a municipality both levy a property tax on municipal residents to fund specific services, but only the municipality provides the services. When this occurs, the county reimburses city governments to offset the cost to the city of providing services that would typically be funded by county taxes. Under the county legislation, services eligible for reimbursement can include certain transportation and police services, crossing guards and park maintenance.
The county legislation revises reimbursement formulas established in 1996. It no longer links reimbursements to amounts derived from the property tax. Instead, reimbursements will now be available regardless of the city’s funding source, providing greater predictability for city budget planning. The reimbursements, subject to annual approval by the County Council, would be at 80% of the formulas in Fiscal Year 2023, 90% in FY24 and 100% beginning in FY25.
Ahead of the three-year phase-in of the new reimbursement formulas, the County Council also approved $5 million in reimbursements in a special appropriation to the county’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget. That money will be shared by 20 county municipalities, with more than $2.5 million for Rockville.
“This legislation is a tremendous step forward for Rockville and all of Montgomery County’s municipalities,” the Mayor and Council wrote to the County Council in a letter supporting the bill.
In the letter, the Mayor and Council praised the collaborative negotiation process between County Executive Marc Elrich, the County Council and municipalities to resolve the decades-long issue.
The unanimous support of the Maryland Municipal League Montgomery Chapter, whose recent efforts were led by chapter president and Rockville Councilmember Monique Ashton, was crucial to the legislation’s success. The chapter was formerly led by Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, who helped lay the groundwork for the chapter’s successful advocacy on this longtime priority of the Mayor and Council.