Senior tax relief measure to be on November ballot

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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During Tuesday night’s school board work session, the ongoing debate over the senior property taxes was a brief topic, with board chairman Kirk Hancock saying that the resolution will appear on the November ballot.

“The legislative legal counsel was not confident that they could get it to the governor’s desk in time to do it in May because the legislature took a week-long break that they typically don’t take,” Hancock said.  “Assuming it passes, it will not delay the implementation date.”

The board passed a resolution in January to provide some tax relief for senior citizens. The resolution would eliminate taxes for anyone 65 and older, who earns less than $40,000 a year or has a home valued at less than $100,000.

Don Miller, who served as the school system’s interim chief financial officer until last month, spoke as part of the public comment session of the meeting. Miller was the interim CFO while the school system looked for a full-time CFO. New CFO Scott Burckbuchler attended his first meeting on Tuesday night and did not speak on the tax relief issue.

Miller clarified numbers he spoke about at that meeting, reinforcing that an estimated 2,500 people will benefit from the tax exemption. He said 1,196 people currently have an exemption for making less than $22,000 a year, and those people will move over to the new exemption.

Miller said U.S. Census data showed that 2,300 people total make less than $35,000 a year — including the 1,196 already listed — and another 200 are estimated to make less than $40,000.

“I also had sent one of the board members of the tax group about three months ago the calculation of what the full impact was,” Miller said. “He presented a number, and I presented a different number. He agreed that the number that I presented to him was correct. So, it was very surprising when all of a sudden, last week or last month, somebody was questioning the numbers we had when they’d already supported because they’ve had it.”