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May 10, 2010

Campaign Diary Gone Is the Tax Credit

Michael Kurtianyk

Friday, April 30 – Local Real Estate Market


The deadline has come and gone. Now what? Today is the last day wherein a first-time homebuyer who purchased a home by today would receive a tax credit of $8,000 from the government. By purchase, I mean a valid, legal contract accepted by today, with a settlement date by June 30, 2010.


To qualify as a first-time home buyer, the purchaser, or his/her spouse, may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase. Single buyers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 may receive the maximum tax credit. This limit is up from $75,000 for a single buyer and $150,000 for married couples.


The deadline was not extended by Congress, and we will likely not see this occurring in the future. So, what happens now? It is likely that buyers who did not have a contract by today, for whatever reason, will likely ask sellers for a contribution of $8,000 toward closing. This way, they still get a discount on the purchase of the home, and, if agreed upon, all parties will go to settlement.


March and April were busy months, mainly because February was empty due to the back-to-back snow events. The key for those properties under contract is to not wait until June 30 to settle, because there will be so many settlements crammed into those last days of June. Furthermore, if any moneys need to be wired, all parties will want to build in an extra day or two just in case of any unexpected delays.


Tuesday, May 4 – Commissioners Public Hearing


I went to this evening’s public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2011 budget as presented by the Board of County Commissioners. The proposed $437.9 million operating budget is scheduled to be adopted in June, and would go into effect July 1.


The event was held at Middletown High School, and I did stayed for the entire evening. It wasn’t my first one since moving to Frederick, but it was my first as a candidate. I knew many who were there, especially from the Frederick County Teachers Association. Its members were out in full force.


It was my impression that the groups who were most represented were the teachers, Frederick Community College, and the local “We Surround Them” group. The teachers’ association wore blue FCTA T-shirts and buttons, and many spoke, thanking the commissioners for dropping their waiver application and for agreeing to fund education at the maintenance of effort level for the coming year. Of the $437.9 million budget, more than half – $228.6 million – is earmarked for the Board of Education.


Frederick Community College was hit with a proposed one million dollar reduction in its funding. This would bring their total down to $12.6 million. This seven percent loss is a larger hit than the one the Frederick County Public Schools took.


What will Frederick Community College do? Tuition at the college will increase from $96 per credit hour to $103, which means that a full-time student taking the minimum 12 credits would pay $1,236 per semester instead of $1,152.


The proposed fiscal 2011 budget for the college is $45.4 million. The college’s Board of Trustees approved the tuition increase as a last resort, and only after it approved a range of other cost-saving measures. The college will furlough employees for three days. This will save about $85,000 per day. FCC will also freeze faculty hiring and the filling of new positions and postpone buying classroom technology.


Thursday, May 6 – Hell Froze Over


At a private fundraising event, the host offered these words: “I brought my mother here this evening because she once said that hell would freeze over first before I hosted a fundraiser for a Democrat candidate. Well, it’s a bit chilly tonight, isn’t it?”


And with that, I was introduced. Too funny! It was a great turnout and we had great discussions about local politics and the issues. Tonight’s event reiterated what I’ve been hearing wherever I go: the issues are about job creation, balancing the budget, and the lack of harmony among the current Board of County Commissioners, and between them and the municipalities.


Have a great week!


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