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Accuracy of facts enters QA’s commissioners race debate
Chris Knauss, Staff Writer
Star Democrat – Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ads in a local print publication with inaccurate information have jointed the debate this year in the race to become a commissioner in Queen Anne’s County.  At least one commissioner candidate at the recent Queen Anne’s County League of Women Voters public forum referred to figures from a publication that said the county’s “commercial tax base rate plunged from 11 percent to 6.5 percent in 3 years.”

Business Queen Anne’s, the organization that sponsored the ad, has since said the 6.5 percent statistic is not correct.  “The six-point something is not a correct figure,” said Mareen Waterman, president and CEO of Business Queen Anne’s in a phone interview Wednesday.  “But the basic figures that dropped came from the state of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.”

A fax from Waterman showing a report said to be compiled from the Tax Base by County for fiscal year 2003 and FY 2010, shows that Queen Anne’s commercial tax base fell from 11.21 percent of the total real property base in 2003 to 8.67 percent in 2010.  Waterman said the figures were compiled to “tie in to when our county commissioners started on a no or slow-growth pattern.” 

In an Aug. 18 letter addressed to Business Queen Anne’s, which is a business coalition for economic development in the county, District 2 candidate Bob Simmons questioned the accuracy of the ad with the 6.5 percent statistic.

The letter included copies of figures from the state that Simmons said “show for 2009 a total base of $8.3 billion (8.62 percent commercial), for 2008 a total base of $7.3 billion (8.61 percent commercial), and for 2007, a total base of $6.2 billion, but for some reason, show no commercial base.  Nowhere is there any 11 percent or 6.5 percent figure that you use.”

Table V of the Fiscal Year 2007 Real Property Tax Base/Ratio by Subdivision data places the 2007 base at 8.45 percent commercial.  Therefore, according to those statistics, the commercial base increased from 8.45 percent in 2007 to 8.62 percent in 2009.

In FY 2010, the total tax base is listed by the state as $8,674,503,034.  A clearly defined commercial tax base for 2010 is not available as the state’s available data table lists 12 different sources of assessments including Residential Commercial, Commercial, Industrial, and Commercial Condominiums. 

With all the different sources of assessments, Queen Anne’s County Administrator John Borders said singling out the commercial base was not possible.  “You can’t go in and mash a button and say ‘give me all the commercial property in the county” said Borders.  “You can’t get it out that way.  I don’t know where the people get their numbers from but there are all different ways you can manufacturer a number.”

KIDL Web Guy says: Bravo Mr. Simmons!

A MUST READ - The August 31 posting of PaveOurCounty contains a link to a letter Mr. Mareen Waterman (Realtor/ Developer/ President & CEO of BQA) sent out with candidate comments and endorsements of the Business Queen Anne's (BQA) – Friends of QAC PAC.  You have to read the letter to believe it. 

Interesting letter to the KIDL from a Realtor regarding BQA incorrect "facts" and other issues.  Click Here

More Letters to the Editor regarding BQA/ Election.

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