I am sure that many Montgomery County residents were very much surprised and disappointed when they learned that the county council -- no doubt with the reluctant blessings of County Executive Sid Kramer -- had voted unanimously this year to raise the tax rate 7.4 cents per $100 assessed value, resulting in property owners' tax bills that will increase by $50 to $190.

At the time the council was debating this tax issue, I am sure they must have known that the county would soon be receiving its share of the windfall tax from Maryland. Also, the council must have known that it would soon be getting the first windfall installment of more than $3 million with three additional distributions to follow and which could total approximately $12 million by Dec. 31.

Knowing all this, it is hard for me, and no doubt for other citizens as well, to see the wisdom of an ill-timed property tax rise. At least not this year, of all years.

Also, the council must have forgotten, perhaps conveniently, that taxpayers face quite a few other financial burdens, such as higher auto registration fees, rising food costs and an increase in the gasoline tax.

The taxpayers of Montgomery County have a right to expect the county council and executive to use better judgment. NAT PANTALONE Kensington