If you have not voted yet, I wanted to bring your attention not to the headliner vote of the highest office in the land but the more local decision-making that is incumbent upon us. Our choice of president will have a monumental impact on the future of our country but that should not overshadow the impact of our voting at the state and local levels.
However, I will concede that Questions A – D on our ballots are not simple. So as a public service, I thought I would help break them down.
First, a little history: Questions B and D were placed on the ballot by Republican and 2018 County Executive Candidate Robin Ficker.
Question B prevents ANY increase in property tax beyond adjustment for inflation even if all council members were in favor of it. It is a vote to keep property taxes from rising too high too fast.
Question D increases the number of county council districts from five to nine, doing away with any and all at-large council members. It is a vote to have all county council members directly accountable to a specific district rather than the county at large.
Questions A and C were submitted by the current County Council as alternatives to B and D. In essence, you can vote for A instead of B and C instead of D.
Question A would continue the current practice of capping tax revenues at the current value after adjusting for inflation (based on the rate instead of the total) unless all Council members voted to raise the tax. This would put the ultimate decision in the hands of the Council if they all agreed on the need for greater revenue from property tax.
Question C would increase the number of county council districts from five to seven and then add two more council members so that there would still be four (4) at-large council members as there are now.
Question A – Property tax capped to inflation except by unanimous vote of Council
vs. Question B – Property tax capped to inflation, NO exceptions
Question C – Seven (7) districts, four (4) at-large members, eleven (11) council members
vs. Question D – Nine (9) districts, zero (0) at-large members, nine (9) council members
A colleague of mine reminded me that there are third options for each set: vote “no” on both questions, which is really a vote for the status quo:
No on both Question A & B:
Property Tax capped at last year’s amount plus inflation
Except by unanimous vote of Council
No on both Question C & D:
Five (5) districts
Four (4) at-large members
Nine (9) council members
For a fair assessment of the options, WTOP did a good review:
We have one of the most well-resourced and well-educated counties in the country. Let’s make sure it rises to its potential. Please consider carefully your answers to Questions A – D.
If you’d like my personal opinion on these, email me!
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