Calling the possibility of a County fee on homeowners paying their property tax "an insult to County taxpayers," Councilmember Phil Andrews today introduced a bill to prohibit Montgomery County from charging a fee for homeowners paying their property taxes semi-annually.
"Many banks charge people fees for them to use their own money," said Councilmember Andrews. "There’s no reason for government to ‘nickel and dime’ residents and insist on using the ‘float‘ on our property taxes to make money for the County."
The measure, drafted last week and introduced today, is sponsored by Councilmembers Isiah Leggett, Michael Subin, Derick Berlage, Steve Silverman, Blair Ewing, and Phil Andrews – six out of nine Councilmembers, insuring its passage.
A Council public hearing on the measure will be held on February 29.
Under a law adopted by the Maryland State Legislature, state residents will now pay their taxes semi-annually – or twice a year – unless they choose once-a-year payments. The measure was prompted by a desire to reduce closing costs on home purchases in Maryland, which are the second-highest in the nation.
The law allows – but does not require – Maryland counties to charge homeowners a service fee to cover administrative costs and compensate for the loss of interest income from the property taxes earned by the counties.
According to estimates by the County Department of Finance, the possible fee on a homeowner with an annual tax bill of $2600 could be about $21. The department estimated the loss in annual income to the County at approximately $4 million.