Howard County Councilmember Yungmann posted the following information on Facebook yesterday about his concerns and vote regarding the Howard County Fire Tax increase:

When taxpayers in Howard County open their bills next month, they’re going to see that their property taxes have increased by close to 5% due to a 34% increase in the fire tax. This increase is particularly burdensome on the taxpayers of District 5. Click below to hear my comments on this tax increase.

http://howardcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=3890&fbclid=IwAR3Ue2zyQhlLyf-6yxVMYJADZseDgYlI9-zyNdpvOwx8ukuCtw2RTGm_2sU

Here is the video:

I posted the following article back in April regarding the increase in the Fire And Rescue Services Operating Budget:

Click to view article

I think the concerns about using operating funds to pay for things that would normally be capital expenses (building two new fire stations) is a legit concern. On the other hand, it has been some time since there has been an increase and the needs of the Fire and Rescue Department has grown and should be funded in order for them to provide the residents a very high level of service.

What are your thoughts on this tax increase?

One last thing to think about…with all of the talk around the school budget…is there a chance we will have another tax increase next year? That has been on my mind throughout this budget process.

Scott E

3 COMMENTS

  1. Questions come to mind:
    1. Does it cost more to provide fire/rescue services to those areas where buildings are scattered or otherwise farther apart, i.e., District 5? If so, then “particularly burdensome on the taxpayers of District 5” would in many ways seem appropriate.
    2. I was riding my bike past Mariottesville Rd a couple days ago and came across a house fire where I got the impression that at least five fire vehicles were parked, lights flashing. Yes, the hole in the garage looked serious but it was one house, set fairly far from its neighbors. Made me wonder, do we have resources that have nothing better to do? Do we allocate resources appropriately?

  2. Yungmann is correct. Western HoCo is being screwed by the county exec. and county council. But, they don’t care because they know district 5 (Marriottsville to Lisbon to Fulton) is largely republican.

    Moreover, district 5 is mostly land and fewer houses and people than the rest of the county (per sq. mile). Houses and people are what requires fire dept services.

    Once again district 5 is paying an unfair proportion of the county revenue.

    • “[D]istrict 5 is mostly land and fewer houses and people than the rest of the county (per sq. mile).” Yes, quite so.
      “Houses and people are what requires fire dept services.” This may not equate to a lower cost per combustible unit (whether residence, barn, stable, or, for that matter, burnable field) to provide those services. I understand that it is generally less expensive on a unit basis to provide municipal services to denser areas than those less dense. As a hypothetical, let’s assume that the fire station at Rt 32 and Rt 99 is necessary to provide appropriate service to 3,000 widely dispersed combustible units. For the same cost, that fire station might, in a more densely settled area, provide the same level of service to 10,000 units. I do not know the actual numbers, but I certainly hope someone does.

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