Gov. Deval Patrick today signed the proposed Sudbury senior property tax relief program, which aims to help elderly homeowners with lower income by moving their property tax responsibilities to residents with higher income, today.
"This should allow Sudbury to put this matter to a vote on Election Day in November," State Rep. Tom Conroy said in an email.
The bill includes recommended changes from a task force assembled by town officials. There were concerns with the legislation's previous version, including adding an opt-out program should it be a burden to see through.
Seniors will be required to file for the exemption every year.
The system would be a first in Massachusetts. Lawmakers have shown support for the system and want to see if it could serve as a model for other towns.
Voters will still need to approve the bill during a regular or special town election before it can take affect.
"Many hands, minds, and voices in Sudbury helped shape this bill and push it through the approval process at the State House. All involved – Ralph Tyler, Dave Levington, Larry O’Brien, Susan Iuliano, Jack Ryan, Maureen Valente, Andrea Terkelsen, and others – deserve praise and thanks for their efforts," Conroy said.
Passed by Sudbury voters as a home-rule petition, the bill, which sat in legislature for more than a year, was amended and sent out by the Joint Committee on Revenue in March.
The bill aims to provide a tax break of up to half the total property tax bill for eligible longtime senior residents who are struggling to stay in town. The responsibility will be spread proportionately to the remainder of the town. Homeowners would see an average bill increase in the range of $50 to $100.
"This new law, if approved by Sudbury voters in November, should provide significant financial relief to seniors who want to continue to live in Sudbury, which ultimately will help all Sudbury residents to continue to enjoy great schools and excellent quality of life in town," Conroy said.
Click on the pdf to review the bill.