[HISTORY: Adopted as indicated in text (Ch. 34, §§ 34-13 and 34-14, of the 1990 Code of Public Local Laws). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Taxation — See Ch. 337.
[1961 Code, § 137; 1963, ch. 94, § 1; 1970 Code, Sec. 9-13; 1977, ch. 630, § 2; 1986, ch. 148, § 1; 1988, ch. 227, § 2; 1989, ch. 302, § 1; 1992, ch. 214, § 1; 1992, ch. 234, § 1; 2000, ch. 82, § 1; 2-15-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-1; 3-7-2006; 2010, ch. 603, § 1]
Taxes are due and payable in accordance with Title 10, Subtitles 1 and 2, of the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Immediately after December 1, the Director of Finance shall send notice of all unpaid accounts, showing the amount of the assessment, the taxes due, and the charges that have been added. The notice shall warn the delinquent that unless settlement in full is made before the next March 1, the property so assessed will be advertised and sold according to the provisions of this section and Part III of Title 14, Subtitle 8, of the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Immediately after the levy is made, the Director of Finance shall make out the bill of each taxpayer and shall forward the bill by mail or otherwise to the person, or the person's agent, to whom taxes have been assessed. On March 1 of each year, the Director of Finance shall make a list by election districts, in their numerical order, of taxes due and in arrears. The list shall contain the name of each person or body corporate assessed with property on which taxes are due and in arrears, a brief description of the property, real and personal, and references to conveyances or another description that identifies real property, and the amount of the tax levied and in arrears, with the interest and costs that will accrue through the day of sale. A notice shall be attached to the list stating that if the taxes are not paid on or before the first Monday in June, together with the interest accrued and the proportional cost of advertising and fees, the Director of Finance will proceed at 10:00 a.m. on the first Monday in June, at the County administration building, to offer each parcel of land or the personal property for sale to the highest bidder for cash. The list and notice shall be published four times, once a week for four successive weeks prior to the first Monday in June in one or more newspapers having a general circulation in the County. On the first Monday in June, the Director of Finance shall, at the hour and places named in the advertisement, proceed to sell the parcels of land and the personal property, beginning with the first on the list and so on in order. The sale shall continue each secular day, legal holidays excepted, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. until each property has been offered. If the Director of Finance, by reason of illness or other disability, is unable to conduct the sale, then a deputy appointed by the Director of Finance shall conduct the sale and make the affidavit to the report of sales as provided for by law.
The Director of Finance, in and about the collection of delinquent taxes, shall have all the powers and authority of a collector of taxes under the Annotated Code of Maryland; and should the Director of Finance deem it impracticable to sell personal property liable for taxes at the time and place aforesaid, then he may advertise and sell said personal property under the power and authority conferred upon collectors of taxes by the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, provided that the Director of Finance shall proceed with such sales as soon as possible after the first Monday in June, as named in this section.
The Director of Finance is not entitled to any commission on the amount of sales made by him in pursuance of the provisions of this section.
Property sold for taxes may be redeemed as provided by the Annotated Code of Maryland upon the payment of the taxes, with interest, costs of advertising, and actual expenses of sale.
The Director of Finance, in and about the collection of delinquent taxes, shall have authority to employ such counsel as may be necessary, and if provided in the annual budget, to advise and assist the Director of Finance.
[Amended 11-13-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-12]
Delinquent taxes, interest due on the taxes and any costs or penalties due and owing on or after May 1 of each year shall be paid by cash, cashier's check, certified check, money order or credit card as honored by the County.
Upon payment in full of a County property tax bill in the month of July, and on the first semiannual installment payment of a County property tax bill in the month of July, there shall be a discount of 0% of said bill, and upon payment in full of a County property tax bill in the month of August, and on the first semiannual installment payment of a County property tax bill in the month of August, there shall be a 0% discount in the amount of the property tax. The discounts set forth herein may be established annually by resolution of the Council.
[Amended 6-2-2015 by Bill. No. 2015-05]
Editor's Note: This bill provided an effective date of 7-1-2015.
[1961 Code, § 138; 1970 Code, Sec. 9-14]
The Director of Finance of Cecil County shall not pay any claim against said County without first deducting from the amount thereof all and every sum or sums due or owing to said County for taxes or otherwise by the holder of said claim, and no assignment of such claim to avoid such deduction shall be valid.
[Added 9-4-2018 by Bill No. 2018-13]
Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the meaning indicated:
- CLEAN ENERGY FINANCING AGREEMENT
- An agreement between a property owner and a clean energy lender providing for the terms and conditions of a clean energy loan.
- CLEAN ENERGY LENDER
- A private lender providing a clean energy loan.
- CLEAN ENERGY LOAN
- Any loan made by a private lender to a property owner under the Clean Energy Loan Program.
- CLEAN ENERGY LOAN PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR
- Any person or entity selected by the county to manage the Clean Energy Loan Program.
- CLEAN ENERGY LOAN OBLIGATION
- All indebtedness and obligations of a property owner to a clean energy lender under a clean energy financing agreement.
- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
- Has the same meaning as stated in Maryland Annotated Code, Local Government Article, § 1-1101 et seq.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- An owner of commercial property as defined in this subsection.
- The repayment obligation of a clean energy loan, including principal, interest, and any application fees and administrative costs, collected from a property owner through the County's property tax billing system in accordance with the bill and as authorized by this section.
- SURCHARGE LIEN
- The lien automatically established upon the County's levy of the surcharge on the property tax bill.
Program. There is a Clean Energy Loan Program to finance energy efficient projects and renewable energy projects on commercial properties as provided in Maryland Annotated Code, Local Government Article, § 1-1101 et seq.
Rules and regulations. The Director of Finance may establish rules and regulations in accordance with Section 502 of the Cecil County Charter and Cecil County Code § 45-1 to administer the provisions of the article.
Program administrator. The County Executive may enter into an agreement with a private entity to administer the Clean Energy Loan Program.
Scope. Commercial property owners are eligible to participate in the Clean Energy Loan Program for nonaccelerating loans greater than $25,000.
Eligibility. In order to be eligible for a clean energy loan, the property owner shall:
Have a 100% ownership interest in the property located in Cecil County for which improvements are proposed;
Demonstrate that the most recent property taxes, assessments and charges on the property have been paid;
Provide a copy of written notice to all current holders of a mortgage or deed of trust who have a priority recorded lien on the property and written proof of express consent to the clean energy loan as a priority lien by all current holders of a mortgage or deed of trust on the property; and
Provide all information required to establish that the owner of the commercial property is able to repay the loan provided under the Clean Energy Loan Program, in a manner substantially similar to that required for a mortgage loan under Maryland Annotated Code, Commercial Law, §§ 12-127, 12-311, 12-409.1, 12-925 and 12-1029.
Qualifying improvements. The following improvements, either new or replacement, qualify as energy efficiency or renewable energy projects under the Clean Energy Loan Program:
Solar energy equipment;
Geothermal energy devices;
Wind energy systems;
Water conservation devices not required by law;
Any construction, renovation or retrofitting of commercial property to reduce energy consumption, including high efficiency lighting and building systems, heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades, high efficiency boilers and furnaces, high efficiency hot water heating systems, combustion and burner upgrades, fuel switching, heat recovery and steam traps, building shell or envelope improvements, fenestration improvements, building energy management systems and process equipment upgrades; and
Any other improvement approved by the county or the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator as qualifying as an energy efficient project or renewable energy project.
Qualifying costs. A clean energy loan may be used for all costs incurred by a property owner in connection with the qualifying improvements, including the cost of an energy audit; feasibility studies and reports; design, installation and construction of the qualifying improvements; commissioning; energy savings or performance guaranty or insurance; building accreditation; closing costs of the clean energy loan; permitting fees; administrative fees; post install evaluation, measurement and verification.
Real property tax surcharge.
Repayment of loans. A property owner participating in the Clean Energy Loan Program shall repay the clean energy loan through a surcharge on their real property tax bill. Upon receipt of written notice from the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator of the execution of a clean energy loan financing agreement, which must be delivered by the Clean Energy Program Administrator to the County no later than May 1 of each year, the County shall, within 60 days from the date of the clean energy loan financing agreement, confirm that the surcharge has been added to the tax property bill. The surcharge shall constitute a first lien on the property from the date it becomes payable until the unpaid surcharge and interest and penalties on the surcharge are paid in full, regardless of a change in ownership, whether voluntary or involuntary. A person or entity that acquires property subject to a surcharge assumes the obligation to pay such surcharge. The County may assign the surcharge lien to the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator.
Calculation. The surcharge for a clean energy loan shall include the clean energy loan obligation and may include administrative costs incurred by the County and calculated in accordance with rules and regulations.
Notice of levy and lien surcharge. Upon receiving written notice from the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator of the execution of a clean energy loan financing agreement, the property owner shall execute a notice of levy and lien of surcharge with the County and the clean energy lender that will be recorded in the land records of Cecil County, at the expense of the property owner. The Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator shall promptly file such notice of levy and lien of surcharge in the Cecil County land records, thereby providing notice to third parties. A copy of the recorded notice shall be provided to the County. Such notice shall contain:
The date the clean energy loan was made to the property owner and the property became subject to the surcharge;
The term of the clean energy loan and over which the surcharge will apply to the property;
The clean energy loan obligation and estimated County administrative costs for the first year;
The annual principal and interest amount for each year of the term of the clean energy loan, including any partial year prorated amounts;
Prepayment requirements and any prepayment premium that may apply to a prepayable clean energy loan;
Notice that the clean energy loan obligations and the County's administrative costs will be repaid through a surcharge included on the owner's real property tax bill due and payable on the same date as the real property tax bill;
Notice that an unpaid clean energy loan surcharge constitutes a first lien on the property that has priority over prior or subsequent liens in favor of private parties and that the surcharge will continue as a lien on the property from the date it becomes payable until the unpaid surcharge and interest and penalties on the surcharge are paid in full, regardless of a change in ownership of the property, whether voluntary or involuntary; and
Notice that if payments or surcharges are not timely paid, the surcharge will be collectible as a tax lien through the tax sale process authorized under Maryland Annotated Code, Tax Property, Title 14, Subtitle § 8 and in accordance with Cecil County Code § 45-1 and that an overdue surcharge will be so collected, irrespective of whether real property taxes (or any other taxes, charges or assessments) are due and owing.
Default. In the event of default on the clean energy loan surcharge, the County shall be required to collect the lien pursuant to Maryland Annotated Code, Tax Property, Title 14, Subtitle 8 and in accordance with Cecil County Code § 45-1, irrespective of whether property taxes (or any other taxes, charges or assessments) are due and owing. The County shall not incur any liability to the clean energy lender or others in the event of default.
Payment to clean energy lender. The County shall have no ownership of the surcharges collected except for administrative costs provided under this section. The Director of Finance shall pay all surcharge payments in any calendar month to the applicable clean energy lender or the Clean Energy Loan Program Administrator within 30 days after the end of the month in which such amounts are collected. The County shall have no obligation to make payments to any clean energy lender with respect to any clean energy loan obligation other than that portion of surcharge actually collected from a property owner for the repayment of a clean energy loan. Payments received from a property owner shall be credited first to all County taxes, assessments and charges before being credited to a clean energy loan surcharge.
Financing. Clean energy loans may be provided by a private lender and a clean energy financing agreement may contain any terms agreed to by the clean energy lender and the property owner, as permitted by law, for the financing of clean energy loans. The County may not finance or fund any loan under the Program, shall serve only as a program sponsor to facilitate loan repayment by including the surcharge on the county real property tax bill for the property, and shall incur no liability for the loan.