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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Council sticks with tax rate … for now

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

Last year’s 81.5-cent levy might be in notice, but not necessarily in new budget

(March 30, 2023) The Town of Berlin will advertise that the property tax rate of 81.5 cents may stay the same in FY24, but plenty could change before a final vote.

On Tuesday, the Berlin mayor and Town Council agreed that newspaper public notices that will advertise an April 24 public hearing will show 81.5 cents as the proposed tax rate.

“The information tonight will not set the tax rate,” Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said on Monday. “We are required to run this exact advertisement prior to the public hearing for the tax rate and prior to the introduction of the tax rate … We have to send it to the newspaper tomorrow to have it in next week’s paper.”

She added that the number is intended to just give an idea of what the tax rate might look like.

For FY23, it is expected that the town’s estimated real property assessable base will increase from $515.23 million to $537.94 million.

Keeping the tax rate the same would result in a 4.4 percent increase in real property tax revenues, resulting in about $185,000 more.

To offset the effect of increasing assessments — and produce the same revenue as the year before — the rate should be reduced to 78.06 cents, which is the constant yield tax rate for FY24.

Councilmember Steve Green said he felt it’s too early to throw a number on anything yet.

“My gut would be that we let the ad run as proposed but, speaking for myself, I do think we’re looking at some sort of adjustment to the tax rate because of pressures, helping our employees,” Councilmember Steve Green said.

“However, I do believe this notice is not a protocol, it’s a matter of process and it’s important to show the constant yield tax rate does bring in new revenue.”

Bohlen said the mayor and council would not be running wrong information by running an identical tax rate in the advertisement.

Councilmember Jay Knerr said that his family’s home saw a 7 percent increase with the updated assessments.

“Keeping the tax rate the same, everyone is going to feel the pain of paying more at tax time,” he said. Personally, I don’t want to even consider raising the tax rate so I would like to keep it exactly where it’s at.”

The tax rate will be proposed at the April 10 meeting of the mayor and Town Council.