Surburban Maryland voters appeared to think twice about restricting property taxes yesterday. Anne Arundel County voters rejected a curb there and those in Montgomery approved only the least restrictive of three proposed limits.

The measure approved in Montgomery County will limit annual property tax increases to roughly the rate of inflation. Two other tax limitation measures on the ballot, and a measure to limit local spending on state projects, were defeated.

In Anne Arundel, voters turned back a measure to hold the annual increase in property tax revenue to 4.5 percent, or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

The initiatives were the product of an election year dominated by taxpayer frustration with rising tax bills and a growing mistrust in government to do anything about it.

Montgomery County Executive-elect Neal Potter (D) said he was not surprised that voters approved one of the limitation measures because "the problem of fairness in taxation is one of my basic reasons for running."

Potter said he would push for a local gasoline tax and a tax on development to make up for any lost property tax revenue. "I will talk to our legislators, {but} they shy away from anything that's not property tax," he said.

Officials said approval of the Montgomery limit, which came in the form of a charter amendment, should not cause serious problems in the short term.

Rather, any pain would come from the cumulative effect of the cuts as they take their toll year after year.

In addition, the restrictions would make it difficult to deal with financial uncertainties and a growing population, they said.

In Baltimore County, voters rejected a proposal to limit property tax increases to no more than 2 percent a year.

Warnings against enacting tax limits came in a last-minute media blitz sponsored by groups from Baltimore, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties and spearheaded by the Maryland State Teachers Association. The coalition spent at least $225,000 on advertisements that warned the limits would lead to cuts in police and fire services and a decline in education.

"Same old story, the big interests with the big money can frighten voters," conceded Robert C. Schaeffer, an anti-tax leader in Anne Arundel County.

The limitation measure approved by Montgomery voters was called Question F on the ballot. Its language is a compromise worked out between three County Council members, including Potter, and county tax rebel Robert Denny, a Brookville writer. The compromise recalled a similar agreement on county spending in 1978 that helped Montgomery avoid a harsher tax limitation measure on the ballot that year.

The approval of Question F means that the County Council will have to live under two tax and spending charter requirements.

Question F will hold any increase in revenue to the rate of inflation with some exceptions, unless seven of the council's nine members vote otherwise. Another charter amendment, adopted in 1978, requires the votes of six County Council members for any spending increase above the rate of inflation. Question F will curb next year's anticipated $735 million in property tax revenue by $36 million, a revenue analysis said.