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Caroline real estate tax likely won’t change

Caroline County residents likely won’t see an increase in real estate taxes this year.

The Board of Supervisors made about $600,000 worth of cuts to the proposed 2013–14 budget during a workshop Thursday and is expecting an additional $500,000 in personal property taxes, which largely apply to vehicles.

That savings and the bump in income virtually eliminate the need for a 5 cent real estate tax increase that would have generated $1.2 million in extra revenue for the county.

The budget originally proposed for 2013–14 suggested raising the tax rate from 72 cents per $100 of taxable property value to 77 cents, a move that seems unlikely now.

The extra money coming from the personal property tax isn’t because supervisors are jacking up the car tax. Instead, for the first year, they’ll be pro-rating that tax.

Because the personal property tax bill goes out only twice per year, vehicles bought in months right before or after have not been taxed right away, and the county has lost money.

So beginning Jan. 1, the county began sending bills to owners based on when they bought their vehicles, generating a little more money.

The personal property tax rate will go from $3.50 per $100 of assessed retail value to either $3.79 or $3.80 per $100 of trade-in value.

That rate is meant to raise the same amount of revenue for the county as it has in the past, but some residents may see lower car tax bills if they have had their car for several years.

The adjusted budget is now $41.8 million.

Among the cuts:

Delaying the general property reassessment, saving $203,000

Reducing the number of new wells to four, saving $150,000

Cutting the number of new school buses in half, saving about $50,000

Trimming the number of sheriffs’ vehicles, saving about $35,000

Decreasing the transfer of money to social services, saving about $85,000

Decreasing a transfer to utilities for a second water operator position, saving about $31,000

The revised budget includes 3 percent raises for both county and school employees.

It will take $475,000 in local funds and another $264,000 in state funds to cover the cost of raises for school employees.

The board will hold its next regular meeting on April 9.

Robyn Sidersky: 540/374-5413