The Baltimore Board of Estimates has rejected a proposed surtax increase for the Charles Village Community Benefits District.
The five-member board unanimously voted to reject the district’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget that included an increase of 1.4 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Following the board’s decision, David Hill, the district’s executive director, said he was disappointed by the decision.
Hill said without the surtax increase the benefits district could possibly have to lay off employees.
“Something has to be cut,” Hill said.
Falling property assessments are expected to reduce revenues to the district by more than $40,000 this coming fiscal year.
The board’s decision to reject the surtax increase came despite the support of the Charles Village, Abell, Old Goucher and Harwood community associations. The four neighborhoods make up the Charles Village Benefits District.
The board has also asked the benefits district to increase its reserve to $200,000, or nearly three months of the district’s budget.
Not everyone was disappointed by the board’s decision.
Christian Wilson, an Old Goucher resident, said he opposed the surtax increase because many residents couldn’t afford it.
“The reason I’m opposing the budget is that 50 percent of our population have an income of less than $25,000 a year,” Wilson said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office issued a statement explaining her opposition to the surtax increase.
“Now is not the time to increase any property taxes for any Baltimore City residents or businesses. Two years in a row, we closed $186 million in budget deficits without raising property taxes a single penny,” Rawlings-Blake said in the statement. “We made tough choices, but we confronted the challenge honestly, and I urge CVCBD to follow city government’s lead and implement effective cost‑cutting measures to maintain core services without imposing additional property taxes on Charles Village residents and businesses.”
The Charles Village Benefits District has the lowest surtax rate of the four special tax districts in the city. The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s rate is set at 21.3 cents per $100 of assessed value, the Midtown Community Benefits District is set at 13.2 cents and the Waterfront Management District has a rate of 17 cents.