Milford City Council voted Monday to double an existing tax excemption available to some senior citizens in an effort to ease the burden of an 8-cent increase in the property tax rate that was approved earlier this month.


 

THE ISSUE

Milford City Council recently adopted a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes an 8-cent hike in the city’s property tax rate.

Starting July 1, the property tax rate will jump 17 percent from 46 cents per $100 of assessed value to 54 cents per $100.

The property tax rate will be adjusted again next month due to this year’s citywide property value reassessment. While City Council is expected to reduce the rate at the end of that process, many residents will still end up paying more in property taxes due to an increase in the assessed value of their homes.

WHAT’S HAPPENED

In an effort to lessen the impact of the tax increase on fixed-income seniors, City Council on Monday voted to double an existing tax exemption.

Currently, individuals aged 65 and older with an annual income of less than $15,000 and joint-property owners with an annual income of less than $25,500, excluding social security and railroad pensions, can claim a $20,000 exemption off the assessed value of their property. Starting July 5, that exemption will jump to $40,000 of assessed value.

Council also extended the deadline for residents to apply for the tax exemption from June 1 to July 30.

“Because this change came late in the game following our budget discussions, people had requested, and we thought it would be a good idea, if we made the exemption available for a little while longer,” City Manager Richard Carmean said.

The increased tax exemption is expected to cost the city about $45,000, he said.

WHAT’S NEXT

City Council is expected to readjust the Milford’s property tax rate next month so the city receives the same level of revenue, despite reassessed property values.

Councilman Allen “Skip” Pikus, who chairs council’s finance committee, has said the rate could be reduced to as low as 42 cents per $100 of assessed value, including the recently-approved 8-cent increase.

Property tax bills reflecting the final rate will be mailed out by the first week in August.

Property tax bills will be due Oct. 1.