OCEAN CITY — There was some measure of closure this week in a case seeking a “roll back” of Ocean City’s property tax rates to 2009 levels when Maryland’s highest court on Wednesday denied what will likely be a final appeal attempt.
Last June, a group operating under the guise of the Ocean City Taxpayers for Social Justice (OCTSJ) submitted to the Mayor and Council a petition containing nearly 1,500 signatures essentially seeking a return of the property tax rate from the current 48 cents per $100 of assessed value to 38 cents, or the rate at which it was set in 2009. The petition sought a referendum within 90 days of its filing, or the next scheduled election, which would have been the general election this November.
The town then filed a petition for declaratory judgment against the OCTSJ and petition organizer Tony Christ in Worcester County Circuit Court, seeking a judicial review of the validity of the petition and its attempts to launch a referendum on the tax rollback effort.
Anticipating the town’s move, Christ along with three other named plaintiffs including John Medlin, Herb Pawlukewicz and former Ocean City Councilman filed a complaint in federal court seeking a habeas corpus hearing in U.S. District Court.