Baltimore County Now
Bureau of Solid Waste Management
As the holidays arrive, our belts tighten around our post-Thanksgiving waists and our wallets thin from the joy of giving to our loved ones. Amid the hustle and bustle of department store discounts and clearance racks, it’s easy to overlook all the perfectly good items piling up at home.
Many of us have unused low-definition TV’s, working cell phones untouched since the latest update, and outdated toys and games collecting dust in the basement. One can imagine Clement Clark Moore actually intended the timeless poem “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” to read “when out on the lawn there arose such a clutter.”
In addition to fueling the holiday spirit by helping others, donating, or choosing to reuse, unused goods has many advantages. As opposed to discarding items as trash, donating reduces disposal costs, cuts down on air and water pollution, and conserves space in Baltimore County’s landfill (which is already over 50 percent filled). Donating certain items may even qualify as a valuable tax deduction.
Here are some ways you can donate this holiday season.
Large household appliances, like electric stoves, refrigerators, and furniture, are accepted by the American Rescue Workers, which resells the items. The proceeds fund a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, a soup kitchen, and an overnight shelter for people in need.
Pet supplies, from crates to animal water bottles to blankets and towels, are acceptable items to donate to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) to be used for the animals at the shelter.
Books in good condition, as well as CDs and DVDs, can be donated to the Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. These are sold at the annual Friends of the Towson Library Book Sale, which raises funds to support the Towson Library.
Cell phones complete with chargers and batteries can be donated to the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County to be given to people experiencing domestic violence.
Gently-used eyeglasses and sunglasses donated to Lenscrafters find new homes internationally with those who need glasses but cannot afford them.
Building supplies, like faucets, sinks, toilets, doors, windows, and tools, just to name a few, can easily be donated to The Loading Dock, Inc. Just bring them to either of two County residents’ drop-off facilities (the Central Acceptance Facility in Cockeysville or the Eastern Sanitary Landfill Solid Waste Management Facility in White Marsh).
For a more in-depth list of acceptable items to donate, and where to take them, see the County’s Reuse Directory.
Remember – not everybody can give as much as you this holiday season. By donating unneeded goods, you can help fill more homes with cheer. And don’t forget – after you open your holiday gifts, make room in your closets, on your shelves, and in your cabinets by donating all your usable, but no longer wanted, items.
Director, Office of Budget and Finance
Yesterday, the Baltimore County Council unanimously passed County Executive Kamenetz’s budget for Fiscal Year 15 with only minor changes. The County’s General Fund Operating Budget, subject to spending affordability, for FY 2015 is $1.75 billion, an increase of only 3.85% above the previous year. When including special funds, the total operating budget is $2.9 billion.
The budget holds the line on taxes and maintains our top bond rating.
No increase in property tax rate – 26th year in a row
No increase in income tax rate – 22nd year in a row
Maintains Triple AAA bond rating – one of only 38 counties in the nation
You may view details of the budget on the County web site. Here’s a quick overview of the total operating budget:
by Keith Dorsey
Baltimore County Budget Director
It’s that time of the year when Baltimore County residents will receive their annual property tax bills. 296,000 bills will go in the mail this Saturday, and usually arrive just before the 4th of July. If you are like me, when you receive a bill and the envelope includes other pieces of paper, there is a great temptation to just toss that extra paper into the recycling bin. But before you do that with your property tax bill please take a moment to read the other inserts. There is some important information included with your bill:
- There is a flyer entitled Taxpayer’s Information, July 2012 that has important phone numbers to keep on file throughout the year as well as an explanation of different payment options, a change of address billing form, and other relevant items.
- I often get asked if there are other charges on a property tax bill in addition to the property tax itself. The answer to that question is yes. There are fees that are mandated by Baltimore City and the State of Maryland that are included on your property tax bill.
- While Baltimore City bills property owners directly for water bills, the County is also responsible for its share of the sewer fees which appear on the property tax bill as the Metropolitan District Sewer Service Charge. The County collects its portion of the sewage fee to help repair its aging sewer system as part of a federally mandated consent decree, and it turns over a portion of this fee to the City for maintenance of its sewer treatment plants.
- The State also requires the County to collect a fee for the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF). The State uses these funds to upgrade sewage treatment plants in an effort to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Residential property owners are charged $60 annually. There is a flyer in the property tax bills explaining this fee.
The Baltimore County property tax rate remains unchanged for the upcoming year. It is the 24th year in a row that the property tax rate has not been increased. If you have any questions regarding your property tax bill, please call 410-887-2403.
I hope this information is helpful.