Chamber to host forum on Wicomico Revenue Cap

Wicomico County’s nearly 20-year percentage limit on the amount of revenues that can be derived from property taxes will be a topic for discussion this month at the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber will host presenters Greater Salisbury Committee CEO Mike Dunn and Sarah Guy, Associate Director of The Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University, on Tuesday, July 24, at 8:30 a.m., in the Chamber offices in Downtown Salisbury.

Dunn and Guy will discuss the properties of the Revenue Cap, the challenges posed by it, its effects on county spending and potential options moving forward.

They will present BEACON’s official study and then participate in a public forum.

The Revenue Cap was approved in a public referendum in 2002.

The Revenue Cap Study was prepared under a special GSC panel led by Salisbury accountant Bob Moore. A group of nine GSC members, with the key assistance of BEACON and Dr. Memo Diriker and a group of Salisbury University graduate business students, worked for a year and a half to complete the report.

The July 24 SACC presentation is part of the plan by GSC to get the study out in the community.

It has been presented to the full GSC membership, one of the SBY Rotary Clubs, the Chamber’s Executive Committee.

A copy of the study RC can be found online at greatersalisbury.org.

“We encourage discussion about the RC Study, Dunn said. “Our goal was to educate and inform. The RC has been the law of the land for 18 years, and GSC thought a thorough review of the RC was in order..”

Chamber CEO Bill Chambers has been publicly critical of the Revenue Cap and has called for renewed public discussion.

“Antiquated decisions on restrictions for local revenue decisions have and will put a squeeze on our county budget and made it harder for Wicomico County to meet the rising costs of mandated government services,” Chambers said.

He also questions why the cap uses the Consumer Price Index to gauge spending.

“Under the current revenue cap in Wicomico County, comparing the rate of growth in property taxes to the rate of growth in ‘median household income’ is a flawed approach in that ‘median household income’ is a limited yardstick and a poor standard for understanding county government budgets,” Chambers said.

“One size approaches do not fit all. Issues such as unfunded state mandates and other uncontrollable cost drivers can run up county budgets faster than property values rise,” he said. “This could threaten critical discretionary county services.”

This is a free event. Registration is available online at salisburyarea.com or by calling Director of Events Lauren Barnas at 410-749-0144.

 

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