Cambridge, MD -- At a July 5 meeting, Dorchester County approved a bill that would provide a fire sprinkler rebate. The bill would provide a property tax credit on newly constructed residential property with an automatic fire sprinkler system.
The fire sprinkler code was imposed on new home construction and extensive renovation projects at residences after a mansion fire in Maryland killed six people last year. The fire sprinkler code led to protests from contractors and developers who claimed orders for new construction stopped following the law. To assist in the resurgance of new construction, this bill was approved. Contractors are petitioning for an additional opt-out clause, which has not yet been approved.
A traveling demonstration showed how fire sprinklers stop a fire from spreading. County Councilmen witnessed the demonstration, and agreed that sprinklers are very effective in reducing fire damage.
Bill 2016-3 was created because an empty lot generates very little in property taxes. Rebating the cost of a mandatory fire sprinkler system on new property taxes would cost the county nothing.
"Anytime when government can lower the tax burden on people, it's a good thing," said Councilman Don Satterfield. "But this [the tax credit], was almost a must for us in Dorchester."
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