Can a piece of legislation mend the broken relationships between residents, public safety officials, and the city?
According to reporting in the Baltimore Sun, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Councilman Eric T. Costello are slated to introduce a bill on Monday that would do just that. The piece of legislation would reduce the property tax bills of sheriff’s deputies, police officers, and firefighters who own a home in Baltimore City by $2,500.
Proponents hope the discount will encourage more police to live in the city they serve, which might in turn improve the relationship between police and the community after a series of police brutality scandals and a federal investigation that determined Baltimore Police have frequently violated the rights of residents. At the end of 2016, only 19.5 percent of Baltimore police officers lived in the city.
The relationship between police and city officials has also been strained as officials have sought to act upon community concerns about aggressive and corrupt policing practices. So the tax break would also fit in as part of a plan to bolster the Baltimore Police Department’s recruitment and retention efforts.
As noted in the Sun, a property-tax discount of that size could increase public safety official’s borrowing power by $40,000 when purchasing a home.
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