An apartment-management company that stands to pay $46,000 next year to New Carrollton under a proposed public safety tax asked city officials April 18 for assurances that additional services would be provide in return.
“I’m in favor of the concept, but when I spend $46,000, I’m looking for $46,000 in value,” said Ronald Frank, president and chief operating officer of Southern Management Corp. of Vienna, Va., which owns the 459-unit Fountain Club apartments on Riverdale Road.
Frank said if the tax plan passes, the company might have to pass the cost on to renters, saying a decision would depend on market conditions and whether he needs to keep rents low to remain competitive.
Southern Management was the only one of three companies affected by the proposal that sent a representative to a City Council public hearing about a proposed ordinance that would expand the city’s Special Public Safety Taxing District.
The district, which includes the city’s shopping centers, will generate about $80,000 in revenue this year for the city, which wants to expand it to include the apartment complexes, bringing an additional $90,000.
The ordinance, scheduled for a council vote May 16, covers about 1,600 apartments. Also affected are Realty Management Service of Bethesda, managers of Cambridge Crossing, Lenox Court and Sutton Walk, and Kay Management Co. of Silver Spring, managers of Carrollton Manor and Heritage Square.
Police Chief David Rice initially estimated, based on a crime map, that in 2011, about 70 percent of the department’s 10,400 calls came from shopping centers and apartment complexes, compared to 30 percent coming from the city’s single-family homes.
On April 16, he provided contrary statistics based on data from the county dispatch center that 43 percent of 10,932 calls came from apartments and commercial centers, with 57 percent coming from single-family areas.
However, for the first quarter of 2012 based on 2,599 calls, 41 percent of calls came from single-family areas and 59 percent from apartments and commercial areas.
Frank, concerned that he would pay more in taxes with no increase in services, pressed officials for ways that he could monitor the spending of the money to ensure it was being spent to boost police services at the apartments and not going into the city’s general fund.
New Carrollton is predicting a 22 percent drop in property tax revenue from $4.2 million in fiscal 2012 to $3.2 million in fiscal 2013, according to its proposed budget for fiscal year 2013.
“I’m looking for an increase in staff,” Frank said. “That would be proof that it’s not just filling a shortfall in the budget.”
Rice said there no immediate plans to hire additional officers, but said the additional revenue could be used to increase the number of patrols. He also offered to send Frank activity reports as a way to track whether the money spent reduces crime problems.
Frank also suggested that the council include a sunset provision, instead of making the term of the ordinance indefinite.
The ordinance would tax the apartment owners at the rate of 15 cents per $100 of real property assessed value and also tax them at 15 cents per $100 of personal property assessed value.