I created this map at a hackathon during the National Day of Civic Hacking in 2013. The primery purpose of the map is to enable quick comaprisons of property taxes for individuals concerned about their home assessments. Secondarily, I hoped the map would increase awareness of variations in property values and property taxes throughout the city.
The amount an individual pays in property taxes is directly linked to the assessed value of the property as determined by the State of Maryland. How this assessment is performed is not very well understood by the general public and it can be difficult to know whether a property was assessed fairly or not. One means of evaluating this is by comparing a property against other similar nearby properties. While property assessment and taxation data is available online, the data is not available in a format conducive to making quick comparisons. By presenting the data as a map, homeowners can tell at a glance whether their rates are reasonable for their neighborhood. Additionally, precise values are provided on mouseover allowing for closer inspection.
The property tax rate in Baltimore City is the highest of any jurisdiction in Maryland. Currently the rate in Baltimore is 2.248%. This is double the rate of adjacent Baltimore County (1.1%) and nearly double the second highest rate in the state belonging to Charles County (1.205%). (Source: Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation (SDAT)). This high tax rate can make the impact of an erroneous property assessment especially painful for many homeowners. Anyone wishing to appeal their assessment can find more information about the process through theMaryland SDAT site.
The data on the map has not been updated since the hackathon and is thus presently not an accurate reflection of the precise property taxes owed for most properties in Baltimore City. The overall trends displayed in the map are likely to still be present today.
This project was covered in brief by Technical.ly Baltimore and was recognized by City Paper's Best of Baltimore 2013. The project was later covered in a second article by Technical.ly Baltimore in late 2014 after a link to the map was shared on reddit.