The College Park City Council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance to reduce the city's homestead tax credit rate from 102 percent to 100 percent.
District 1 Councilwoman Christine Nagle moved to adopt the ordinance to reduce the city's homestead tax, and two residents spoke during a public hearing about the proposed tax credit rate.
The homestead tax credit provides homeowners with property tax relief by limiting the increase in taxable assessments each year to a given percentage. If the property value goes up by more than the credit percentage, the homeowner will only pay taxes on the increase up to the credit percentage.
State law says every county and municipality must limit taxable assessment increases to 10 percent or less each year. Before the ordinance, the city's tax credit rate was 102 percent and was 104 percent before that, City Finance Director Gary Fields said.
After two residents spoke about the proposed homestead tax credit rate at a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance and make the credit rate 100 percent.
"Part of the reason that we are able to do this this year is because of increasing tax base in the city on real estate property," said District 3 Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich.
Because of new taxable developments in the city, less tax revenue is needed from homeowners, so there are more resources to assist residents and lower their property taxes, Stullich said.
"That's great we're able to take this new money and offset the cost to the various homeowners," resident David Dorsch said.
Helping homeowners deal with increases in their assessed property value is a "step in the right direction" for the city, resident Oscar Gregory said. Homeowners are "the ones that do hard work to keep the lights on in city hall" and should receive more help like the lowering of the tax credit rate, he said.
There is a one-time application required to be eligible for the homestead tax credit, Fields said, as well as other conditions that make sure the increase in assessed property value was due to inflation and not substantial changes to the property.
"I am pleased that the city is doing well enough that we are able to provide this tax relief for our owner-occupied properties in College Park," Nagle said.
The council also unanimously voted to approve the preliminary plan of subdivision for the development of two new apartment buildings next to the College Park Metro Station as long as the developer works to address concerns regarding the effect the development might have on noise levels and pedestrian safety.