Boasting of new-found prosperity, Anne Arundel County Executive O. James Lighthizer asked the County Council yesterday to increase spending by 9 percent next year while still giving homeowners a 2.3 percent cut in the property tax rate.

The cut in the tax rate, however, will be countered by rising property assessments, county officials said. They estimated that the assessment on the average house in the county will be $76,400, an increase of $5,000. As a result, the homeowner would pay about $34 more in property taxes under Lighthizer's budget, they said.

The property tax rate, currently $2.68 for every $100 in assessed property value, would drop to $2.62. For residents of Annapolis, who pay lower county taxes because they receive many services from their city government, property taxes would fall from $1.68 to $1.47.

Under Lighthizer's proposed $421,632,000 operating budget, the county would hire 165 new employes, including 34 new firefighters and 57 teachers. The county school board had requested 101 new teachers.

The budget also funds a 6 percent pay increase for county employes, which was negotiated last year.

Lighthizer, who described his county as a front-runner in the fight to preserve the Chesapeake Bay's water quality, proposed a $400,000 study of how well the county controls the quality of the water flowing into the bay. He also proposed hiring five new inspectors to enforce the county's sediment control laws.

In a separate $87,811,305 capital improvements budget, Lighthizer asked council members for $7.5 million for roads and bridges, $1 million for a new fire training center and $4 million for a new police and fire communications system.

Lighthizer told council members the county remains financially secure despite federal cutbacks, and has eliminated a $1.2 million deficit it had 2 1/2 years ago -- a situation he credited to an economic upturn and sound management.

"If we are now prosperous, then our citizens should reap the immediate rewards of that prosperity," Lighthizer said.

The County Council must vote on a budget by May 31, and it will hold a series of public hearings during the next three weeks.

Council Chairman Virginia P. Clagett praised Lighthizer's proposal to cut the property taxes, but said the council probably will cut the tax rate still further. Especially for people who live near the water, she said, "assessments are rising dramatically and the tax burden is becoming heavy." Anne Arundel Executive Recommends a Tax Cut $421 Million Budget Is Proposed By Tom Vesey Washington Post Staff Writer

Boasting of new-found prosperity, Anne Arundel County Executive O. James Lighthizer asked the County Council yesterday to increase spending by 9 percent next year while still giving homeowners a 2.3 percent cut in the property tax rate.

The cut in the tax rate, however, will be countered by rising property assessments, county officials said. They estimated that the assessment on the average house in the county will be $76,400, an increase of $5,000. As a result, the homeowner would pay about $34 more in property taxes under Lighthizer's budget, they said.

The property tax rate, currently $2.68 for every $100 in assessed property value, would drop to $2.62. For residents of Annapolis, who pay lower county taxes because they receive many services from their city government, property taxes would fall from $1.68 to $1.47.

Under Lighthizer's proposed $421,632,000 operating budget, the county would hire 165 new employes, including 34 new firefighters and 57 teachers. The county school board had requested 101 new teachers.

The budget also funds a 6 percent pay increase for county employes, which was negotiated last year.

Lighthizer, who described his county as a front-runner in the fight to preserve the Chesapeake Bay's water quality, proposed a $400,000 study of how well the county controls the quality of the water flowing into the bay. He also proposed hiring five new inspectors to enforce the county's sediment control laws.

In a separate $87,811,305 capital improvements budget, Lighthizer asked council members for $7.5 million for roads and bridges, $1 million for a new fire training center and $4 million for a new police and fire communications system.

Lighthizer told council members the county remains financially secure despite federal cutbacks, and has eliminated a $1.2 million deficit it had 2 1/2 years ago -- a situation he credited to an economic upturn and sound management.

"If we are now prosperous, then our citizens should reap the immediate rewards of that prosperity," Lighthizer said.

The County Council must vote on a budget by May 31, and it will hold a series of public hearings during the next three weeks.

Council Chairman Virginia P. Clagett praised Lighthizer's proposal to cut the property taxes, but said the council probably will cut the tax rate still further. Especially for people who live near the water, she said, "assessments are rising dramatically and the tax burden is becoming heavy."