The Property Tax Revenue Cap Dilemma

Talbot County has a law in place that limits the county government’s ability to raise revenues to fund essential county services. Under current law the county cannot increase property taxes more than 2% or the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U), whichever is lower. Talbot County has the lowest property tax rate (.6061 in 2019) in the state of Maryland.

A vote for “Question A” in November 2018 will allow Talbot County to increase real property tax revenues by 2.5% each year, and, for four years, will allow the County to add an additional one cent to the real property tax rate. This is an investment in Talbot County and the services provided to our citizens.

What is Question A

Resolution 262 was passed by the Talbot County Council to place a question on the 2018 ballot to amend the Talbot County Tax Revenue  Cap.

The Tax Revenue Cap

Talbot County has a law in place that limits the county government’s ability to raise revenues. Under current law the county cannot increase property taxes more than 2% or the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U), whichever is lower.

County Property Tax Increases

2014-2017 CPI-U was well under 2%, restricting the county's ability to raise revenues. Click on image to enlarge.

Funding Public Services

After years of revenue shortfalls Talbot County is having difficulty keeping up with the rising costs of crucial public services. Click on image to enlarge.

Maryland Property Tax Rate

Talbot County has the lowest property tax rate (.6061 per $100 assessed) in the state of Maryland. Click on image to enlarge.

The Impact on Property Taxes

If Question A passes, the impact on the individual property owner's county tax bill will be modest. Click on image to enlarge.

The Money Will Be Used For

Emergency Services

  • Next Generation 9-1-1 technology designed to update the county’s emergency infrastructure and serve a population increasingly dependent on wireless mobile phones.  
  • Talbot County 9-1-1 operators answer more than 50,000 calls for police, fire, and emergency medical services. Call volume increased 44% last year.
  • In 2017, there were 178 times when four or more units were actively engaged on calls, leaving citizens in other parts of the county vulnerable.
  • Aging equipment must be replaced; an average ambulance costs $300,000.
  • It takes two years and $16,888 to train EMTs to Paramedic level. 

Talbot County Public Schools

  • Our public school system must meet rigorous standards while facing significant budget constraints due to rising fixed charges and increased student need.
  • Since 2010 TCPS has seen:
    • 64% Increase in students receiving English Language Learner Services
    • 31% Increase in students qualifying for Special Education
    • 11% Increase in students qualifying for Free and Reduced Meals
    • 113% Increase in the homeless population
    • 85% Increase in children receiving infant and toddler services
  • TCPS has seen significant increases in:
    • Students qualifying for the Gifted and Talented Program (188 in the 2017-18 school year)
    • Students taking Dual Enrollment Courses
    • Students taking Advanced Placement Courses
  • Safer Schools - Talbot County Public Schools only have three School Resource Officers — one at Easton High School, one patrolling St. Michaels Middle School and High School, and one at Easton Middle School.
  • None of the county’s elementary schools has a School Resource Officer.

Better recruitment and retention for all County departments.

  • Talbot County regularly loses key personnel to higher pay jobs in other jurisdictions. 

BETTER, SAFER COUNTY ROADS

  • The Talbot County Roads Department maintains 374 miles of roadway, ditches, and right-of-way.
  • Since FY2010, Talbot County has seen a 90% reduction in Highway User Funds from the state.  For the past 10 fiscal years, Talbot County has had to find other sources to replace approximately $30 million in lost revenue.
  • Roads crews ARE first responders during natural disasters and inclement weather, keeping Talbot County roads clear and open for essential traffic.
  • Regular roads maintenance and equipment replacement have been deferred. 

Upcoming Capital Projects

  • Easton Elementary School 
    Total project cost is over $50 million with County’s share at $30million.  Scheduled building completion is 2020.
  • New Facility for Sheriff’s Office 
    Temporarily located at the Talbot County Business Center, a permanent facility will need to be built for the Sheriff’s Office at an approximate cost of $10-$12 million in the next few years.
  • New Facility for Talbot County Health Department 
    Current facility built in 1965 at 100 S. Hanson Street in Easton is in need of renovation or relocation at an approximate cost of $8 million within the next few years.

Sheriff's Department

  • The Sheriff’s Office only has three deputies per shift on the road. 
  • Response times are reduced when multiple incidents occur at the same time.
  • Talbot County loses $100,000 in training costs every time a Sheriff’s deputy leaves to join another law enforcement agency.