Northampton County held two public hearings regarding Agricultural and Farmland Districts (AFDs) renewals and additions–the addition of 52 acres to the Jamesville AFD and the ten year renewal of Jacobus Point AFD. AFDs have reduced taxes corresponding to land use rather than fair market value. While the requests were approved, Supervisors Bennett and LeMond voiced concerns and voted against. Supervisor LeMond, who has been skeptical of how much value AFDs actually provide the county, noted that he hoped to “put a freeze” on future expansion of AFD’s. LeMond’s opposition stems from a belief that AFD’s are stunting property tax revenue growth.
Chairman Murray, Supervisors Duer and Hogg countered that while there may be a drop in revenue, AFDs provide other benefits by maintaining open space, the county’s rural character, as well as its agricultural heritage. Murray also noted that while AFDs pay a reduced tax rate, agricultural lands require fewer services than residential or commercial land uses.