The city is anticipating its largest year-over-year increase in revenue — a $62 million bump — since the 2008 financial crisis. That spike in revenue is being driven by back-to-back years of property assessment increases after four straight years of decreases. Andrew Kleine, city budget director, attributed the increase in property taxes from growth from commercial properties.
“On the property tax side, obviously we’ve seen some large projects, like the casino, but actually percentage-wise the biggest increase in value are on the commercial side, as opposed to the residential side,” Kleine said.
The city’s real property tax rate will remain at $2.248 per $100 of assessed value, where it has been since the 2014 fiscal year. The real property tax was last reduced following the 2013 fiscal year when it was trimmed from $2.268 per $100 of assessed value.
Critics of the city have argued that it will struggle to attract news businesses and development until it’s able to bring property taxes in line with other area jurisdictions. Baltimore’s rate is twice as high as what’s charged in surrounding counties.
The mayor also announced that the effective property tax rate for owner-occupied homes will remain at $2.13 per $100 of assessed value. There was no reduction this year because revenues from the Horsehoe Casino are lower than what is expected.
Rawlings-Blake has vowed to reduce the residential property tax rates for the city by 20 cents by 2020 and reiterated that even though there was no relief this year the city is on pace to meet that goal.