Are you a Baltimore City resident who received an updated property assessment that will determine your property taxes?
After being inundated with concerns of local residents about serious increases in their property tax assessments which arrived this week, Yitzy Schleifer, a community activist and member of the Democratic Central Committee, notified the community that there is an appeals process, found at www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/appeal.html, through which residents are given 45 days from receiving the assessment to appeal.
Schleifer explained that the State determines your property value, and Baltimore City issues the tax bill for the property and collects the funds. These funds are used towards Baltimore City needs, including recreation, sanitation, transportation and social services.
“These taxes are also used towards public safety, something that has been insufficient amid the increased crime in our neighborhoods. The arrival this week of the tax assessments was coincidental, but could not have been at a worse time, considering that homeowners just learned they will be paying more in taxes just as Park Heights and Mt. Washington were hit with a crime wave targeting our homes and neighborhoods.”
Not everyone in Baltimore City received an assessment in December. An assessment is done on a rotating basis over three years; each year, a third of Baltimore City gets assessed.
Property assessments are determined by the fair market value of the property. Live Baltimore, an organization that encourages residency in Baltimore City, explains that “property assessors use what they call the Sales Approach. They look at the sales prices of comparable properties to determine what your land is worth. To determine the value of your dwelling, the Cost Approach is used. This method calculates what it would cost to build a similar dwelling, minus any depreciation due to the age and condition of the house. Assessors will also note the sales of similar dwellings to see if they are worth more or less than a newly constructed house.”
Added Schleifer, “Each jurisdiction in Maryland has different property tax rates, determined by the local government. The Baltimore City Council has given local residents the highest property tax rate in the entire state, and almost double of surrounding jurisdictions. Even Baltimore County residents pay significantly lower taxes. One of the reasons I am running for City Council is because I understand how much high taxes – property taxes and others - harm our residents and the urgent need to lower taxes.”