The Chestertown Council has authorized the town’s attorney, Stewart Barroll, to file an amicus brief in support of Ocean City’s three-year-old dispute over whether Worcester County is required to provide a tax differential or rebate for public services that the resort town already pays for out of its own budget.
“We definitely have a dog in this fight,” said Ward 1 Councilman David Foster in support of filing the amicus brief on behalf of Ocean City.
Chestertown has been in a tussle with the Kent County Commissioners in recent years for a tax differential or rebate for services that Mayor Chris Cerino and the Town Council say is owed to residents of Chestertown who pay for their own local fire and police. The town has argued that the lack of a differential or rebate to the town amounts to double taxation.
A tax differential is a rebate on property taxes municipal residents pay their county for services like police, street cleaning and planning & zoning that the county generally doesn’t provide. Instead the municipality pays for these services separately out of their own budget.
The differential exists in the vast majority of counties in the form of a lower county tax rate to town residents or a direct cash payout to the municipality, but not in all cases.
Ocean City also asked Salisbury and Denton to file briefs on their behalf. These municipalities also do not receive a tax differential.
The case will be heard by the Maryland Court of Appeals in June, but the amicus briefs from the municipalities are due to the court by March 22.
The Kent Pilot will update this story.