Property tax increase on the table for Berlin
BERLIN, Md. – Berlin is eyeing a property tax increase that officials say would help maintain the standard of living. The plan was announced last night. Although officials say they understand no one wants to see a raise in their taxes, they believe the small hike is worth it.
Berlin’s mayor says that the proposed tax increase could generate as much as $135,000 dollars for the town – money he says would help maintain Berlin’s quality of life. “We’re proposing that we continue the same quality of life continue to provide the same standards of service,” said Mayor Gee Williams.
Town leaders in Berlin say that a proposed property tax increase could help the town generate funds needed for new projects and maintaining the town’s standard of living. “We need to generate the revenue that we need to make happen for the infrastructure, the capital, and also for the employees,” said Jeff Fleetwood, Berlin town administrator.
The proposed increase would raise property taxes by three cents per one hundred dollars. Town leaders tell 47 ABC that they understand nobody wants a tax increase – but it’s all about perspective. For example, if your home costs $200,000, your annual property tax would be increased by about $60. “This is I think the responsible thing to do. I think just putting it off because it’s not popular would be irresponsible,” said Mayor Williams.
Town officials also say the proposed tax increase could also help to raise police officers’ salaries to regional standards. “We do salary surveys on all employees to see where they fit within other municipalities on the eastern shore. Currently our Police Department is in need of a boost,” said Fleetwood.
Mayor Williams says approving a property tax increase sooner than later would only help the town in the long run. “You can always kick the can down the road but eventually you find yourself in a very deep place,” said the mayor.
Berlin’s town council says that they plan to continue to hold public meetings and asking for the public’s input on the proposed tax increase. Town officials say if the tax increase is approved, taxpayers won’t start seeing the effects of it until the next fiscal year.