From Patrick McGrady:
The Aberdeen City Council hearing on May 9th was held in reference to the “constant yield” tax rate. The city is required to have a hearing like this because the Mayor is proposing to raise taxes and not accept the constant yield rate.
The Mayor worked down the last minute to get the tax rate down a hair from last year’s .69 per $100 to the proposed .68. He cut some spending, but he budgets for a pay increase for all city employees, adding to the total cost of government in Aberdeen.
This is a tax increase because the city revenue is increasing from last year to this year. If the Council wants to keep the size of government the same, they need to accept the constant yield tax rate of .6745, which will mean they will have to cut approximately another $73,000 from the budget. (based on calculations using an assessable base of $1,328,669,309 provided by the City).
We need to cut further. Let’s act now to find the tough cuts so that next year, when the triennial assessment for Aberdeen comes up again, we don’t have to make last-minute drastic cuts to services.
The City Council and Mayor must remember that while they are responsible for paying the employees of the City, the Council and Mayor work for the taxpayers and must be forward-looking stewards of taxpayer money. I have no doubt that the City employees work hard, but if the Council wants to pay them more this year, they should find cuts elsewhere in the budget to pay for it.
We talk about “fees” and “taxes” a lot. The Council recently approved a series of “fee” increases, and last year, they added another $76 per year to every homeowner’s water bill. Now the City is choosing to take more money than they received last year.
The City council is raising the water rate as well. Can you afford to pay more for water?
Residents of the City of Aberdeen surely have not seen a pay raise in the last couple of years– the City must consider the costs of growing government. Do we as taxpayers get any added benefit for the additional costs?
The City should cut at least another $73k to get the rate back to the Constant Yield. Let’s start by cutting the $16,000 per year we pay to the “Maryland Municipal League” and $2,000 per year to the “National League of Cities” — This is taxpayer money that is used to lobby for tax and spending increases at the State and National level. What else should the city cut?
I chose to make Aberdeen my home because I believe in the future. I don’t believe increasing the cost of government to Aberdeen families takes us down the path to prosperity. If you agree, send an email to each of the members of the council at:
Mayor Michael Bennett email@example.com
Councilwoman Ruth Elliot firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Bruce Garner email@example.com
Councilwoman Sandy Landbeck firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young email@example.com
You can also call the City at 410-272-1600 or Fax them at 410-273-7402. Ask them to only approve a budget that doesn’t grow the size of government.
I hope the Council can work to cut out more spending so we can all afford to keep Aberdeen a great place to live and work.