New Carrollton officials hope a plan to annex portions of state routes 450 and 410 will help diversify its tax base while better insuring city officers who use the roadways.
The measure, passed unanimously Wednesday in a 5-0 vote, will only incorporate the roads into the city, because officials fear the police may not be insured if conducting official business outside the department’s jurisdiction. New Carrollton Police Chief David G. Rice said at a Monday hearing on the measure that his department frequently drives along routes 410 and 450 to help police in Landover Hills, and that adding regular patrols to the corridors will not be a burden.
“We already do a lot on the 450 corridor, so I want to protect my officers,” Rice said. “If something happens like a car accident, I want to make sure our insurance covers us.”
Officials say they hope businesses along the corridors will choose to be annexed into the city for access to city services like police.
Under the measure, Route 450 will be annexed from Riverdale Road to Ardwick-Ardmore Road, while Route 410 will be incorporated from Ellin Road to a turnaround point about one-third of a mile north of the intersection with Annapolis Road.
New Carrollton Mayor Andrew Hanko said he has already heard some interest from business property owners that they would join the town after the corridors are annexed.
“For the businesses, they’ll get our police protection and quick response times,” Hanko said.
Acting city manager Graham Waters said that if the city can attract some of the businesses along routes 450 and 410, which has a mix of business districts and residential developments, it could reduce some of the municipal tax burden on residents.
Waters said that in 2011, residential real property tax accounted for 58 percent of the city’s revenue, compared to a mere 4 percent from business real property taxes. The other 38 percent of revenues comes from various fees, grants and fines, he said.
“We want to diversify our tax base, so we are less reliant on residents to shoulder the burden,” he said.
Socrates Yakoumatos, owner of the Pancake House Family Restaurant on Route 410, located on the stretch annexed by the measure, said he would consider joining the city.
“I see the police, and it would be nice for them to be able to come up here,” Yakoumatos said. “I’ll have to read the fine print, but I generally support going along with New Carrollton, even though it might mean higher taxes.”
But residents of some neighboring communities said they were concerned about the annexation. Dave Steele, president of the Belle Meade Civic Association just outside the city, said his group was concerned about the potential for higher taxes.
“With the municipality taking over, our county taxes would go down, but our municipal taxes could go up even higher,” Buck said. “And people can’t afford them as it is.”
Councilwoman Katrina Dodro tried to allay residents’ fears, pointing out that the city cannot annex any area without the consent of the majority of property owners, and the city is not actively interested in annexing any residential areas.
“If property owners want to, they would have to make that decision,” Dodro said. “I want to stress clearly that it’s not New Carrollton wanting to pull [properties] in, owners have to want it.”
The city must wait 45 days until the annexation can take effect, after which any interested businesses along the two corridors can approach the city for their own annexation.