From Patrick McGrady:
The City Council of Aberdeen on May 23, 2011 passed a budget that increased spending over last year and while cutting property taxes, they voted to raise our water/sewer rate. At this meeting, Mayor Michael Bennett said that he chooses not to use the constant yield, the rate that would cut taxes and keep spending at last year’s level, because if the city isn’t spending more money, then “nothing exciting is happening” in Aberdeen.
On June 13, the Council will vote on a tax breakfor buildings that pass LEED certification. This is a bill that will offer new construction projects in Aberdeen a 75% City tax break until 2019 in exchange for implementing common-sense things such as installing efficient lighting systems and following Maryland law as it relates to stormwater management. To qualify, the new constructions projects must be bigger than 50,000 square feet, and no residential homes qualify for the handout.
The State of Maryland already uses tax dollars to subsidize these LEED projects via the Green Building Tax Credit program. LEED certified new construction projects get a credit of 8% of the total cost of construction against their Maryland Corporate Income Tax or Personal income Tax. Why do we need to subsidize this further? More information here: http://business.marylandtaxes.com/taxinfo/taxcredit/greenbldg/default.asp
This ordinance, 11-O-05 (attached, from Aberdeen City website) also includes language that says “The office building must have been granted a Use and Occupancy Permit by the City of Aberdeen on or after January 1, 2011.” This means that this is not an “incentive” as it is being sold to the public. The Aberdeen Corporate Park project that is being built adjacent to the Aberdeen Target store will be able to get this tax break, even though they already picked their site location, got their permits, and started construction. The City Council should amend this ordnance to read “The office building must have been granted a construction permit by the City of Aberdeen on or after the date of passage of this ordinance” so any appearance of deal-making is removed.
This latest attempt to use government to solve the problems faced by Aberdeen should be thrown out in exchange for working to reduce the bureaucracy in Aberdeen and find community-based solutions instead. We would not need to create “incentives” like this if the environment for investment in Aberdeen was healthy.
This is an example of government causing the problem, then trying to use more government to solve it. The best solution would be to figure out why we have to give away the farm in order to spur investment, and then fix the cause. You can contact the City Council and Mayor at 410.272.1600 to ask them to fix the CAUSE, not the SYMPTOM.
You can email them at:
Michael E. Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Elliot email@example.com
Bruce Garner firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy Landbeck email@example.com
Ruth Ann Young firstname.lastname@example.org