On Dec. 4, 2012, we will be voting for two ballot questions. One of these questions concerns whether to grant certain of our town’s seniors partial real estate tax relief. Those seniors will be eligible whose income just hasn’t keep pace with their real estate taxes--whose taxes exceed 10% of their income.
You might be asking:
- How will that impact our budget? Will there be a shortfall in revenues?
- Why should we help our seniors?
- Will the seniors get away with paying no taxes.
Well, first things first. Those seniors who qualify, and that’s about 20-25% of the towns seniors, would need to be asset-tested to see if they meet the criteria for tax relief. The number of seniors who might qualify is about 200-300 Sudbury’s seniors. Yes, they would still be paying taxes, but their taxes would be capped at 10% of their income.
Our town budget won’t be impacted because the cost of senior tax relief will be spread around other citizens whose real estate taxes would increase by just 1/2% in the first year and 1% after that. On average, using 2012 real estate tax figures, this means an increase of about $50 - $100 per household.
We need our seniors. Sudbury’s seniors have a lot of free time and they help the town by volunteering for the F.I.S.H. program, voting booth duty, town park maintenance, the Bridges program for the 4th grade, just to name a few services that seniors provide. The best part is that the town gets all these services at no cost!
The seniors will still be paying their real estate taxes, but no more than 10% of their income. In addition, to qualify, the seniors need to have been town residents for at least 10 years. Clearly since they send no children to town schools, but do pay taxes as they have been for the last 10 years, they support the schools but don’t burden the school budget.
If you want to hear more about this issue, come to the Goodnow Library on Nov. 27 at 7 PM for the League of Women Voters Forum and discuss this issue as well as the other ballot question.