Council At-Large Candidates Discuss Recordation Tax During Debate

The recordation tax took center stage Wednesday during a debate between six candidates running for Montgomery County Council At-large in the upcoming election.

Implemented in 2016, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to increase the recordation tax to help fund school construction costs and to assist low and moderate income households with rental assistance.

Some candidates feel the funds raised as a result of the recordation tax increase have not been allocated properly.

“Two years ago when the council raised the property taxes, they also gave us another gift. They raised the recordation tax and they said all the money was going to schools,” Neil Greenberger said. “Check the record. Last spring, they used $2.1 million of the recordation tax to pay for legal fees for the overruns of the Silver Spring transit center […]; they did not tell us the truth.”

“I think the number one job of a public servant and anyone who would want to be a public servant is to make sure that the tax dollars and fees are being spent wisely for the purposes intended,” Will Juwando said. “I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we’re watch dogs by guarding and using our money wisely.”

Other candidates said the recordation tax increase was needed to fund education.

“The recordation tax is something that as PTA leader at the time, we found was very necessary,” said Paul Geller. “I hope all of you realize that this was actually proposed by [Councilmember] Nancy Floreen. She’s arguably one of the more conservative members of the County Council and to her, she saw the validity of trying to come up with a way of funding construction in the county for schools.”

“Having worked with the council on the planning board and with Nancy Floreen on the recordation tax, it was carefully considered and that’s why the premium was only added to houses greater than $500,000 since the median home price here in Montgomery County is $420,000,” Melissa McKenna said. “We tried to take into consideration those who would be able to pay and those who would not.”

And for other candidates, the issues around the recordation tax is making sure the money is being used properly.

“We can save money in other parts of the budget and not increase these fees,” Mohammad Siddique said. “I do not plan to increase the recordation tax but rolling back is not an option at this time because I am not on the County Council at this time. Once I get there, I will see how this money is being used then we will figure it out at that time.”

“We can’t blindly roll it back without saying how will we make up for the money we’re going to lose by doing that so I wouldn’t support rolling it back but obviously not increasing it anymore,” said Steve Solomon.

The debate was sponsored by the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors;  the Apartment and Office Building Association; and the Maryland Building Industry Association.

Candidates touched on a variety of other topics, including affordable housing, amazon, education and transportation.

The final forum with the sponsors will be held on February 14.

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Mitti Hicks

About Mitti Hicks

Mitti Hicks is a multimedia journalist and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She is passionate about telling stories that impact our community and may be reached at MHicks@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter @mittimegan.

Comments

2 Responses to “Council At-Large Candidates Discuss Recordation Tax During Debate”

  1. On February 8, 2018 at 9:21 am responded with... #

    Maybe they should make the developers who are building all these new communities pay to build the schools to hold the kids they are building homes for.

  2. On February 8, 2018 at 9:27 am responded with... #

    Maybe they should have the developers building all of these new communities pay for the new schools to hold the kids they are building homes for instead of raising this tax.




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