MML Dues Formula Explained
The Maryland Municipal League calculates annual dues for members based on assessable base information filed annually by municipal governments with the Maryland Department of Legislative Services (DLS). This information includes all real and personal property, or assessable base (AB), within the incorporated limits of each municipality that is reported in the property tax section of the annual Uniform Financial Report that each municipality is required to submit to DLS. The latest information available is used for the first draft of the MML budget, which is prepared in December for the following fiscal year beginning July 1.
The AB information is drawn from data shared with MML by DLS. An excel spreadsheet is prepared by MML staff applying a Board-approved factor to the AB number. After the AB numbers for all towns are totaled, they are compared to the prior year’s total and this increase or decrease is applied to the minimum and maximum dues from the prior year to set the minimum and maximum for the new year.
Any missing AB information is noted and these and other questions are forwarded to DLS staff and the AB information from the town’s latest report is used if there is still unresolved missing information. Also, MML staff has visited the offices of DLS staff, as needed, to obtain missing information. MML staff is available for any questions.
Maryland is unique among states in our country in that there is a statewide system for assessing the value of property. No other state has an agency like the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). SDAT does assessments of all properties in the state every three years with one third of each county in the state subject to reassessment each year. This allows a comparability of property values throughout Maryland that is unmatched in the United States. MML takes advantage of that fact by using AB values of each member municipality to determine the level of dues that each member pays annually.
Other municipal leagues in the country use population or land area to assess member dues. No weight is given to the ability of a municipality to pay. Using member municipal assessable base as a basis for its dues structure provides MML a fair and appropriate way to charge its members based on their ability to pay.
There have been various modifications to the AB formula over the years, including a freeze on dues amounts and the use of a flat percentage increase. The AB formula in use now includes four tiers, or levels: one with our member with the largest AB, Baltimore, followed by two tiers, each including the next 3 largest AB members, and a fourth tier including all other members. The dues amounts are reviewed several times before annual board approval and may include a maximum and minimum to make sure there are no excessive changes year-to-year.