I am deeply saddened to see the Beacon Falls town budget fail at referendum. The town budget contained a very minor 0.1 mill increase. This equates to approximately $20 on a house valued at $200,000.
The town budget represents the cost of running the town (minus the Region 16 school budget). I have personally observed the Board of Finance seek justification for each and every line in the budget, as well as scrutinize every past expenditure. Then they went back looking to see where there could be further cuts.
Yet the town budget was defeated. The only realistic place I can see to further cut the budget without cutting core services would be to reexamine the ordinance for elderly tax relief.
This ordinance, as it currently exists, is wholly unsustainable. Due of its overly generous income thresholds, allowing for incomes of those over 65 years of age earning up to $75,000 for a single, or $150,000 for a couple to be eligible for this tax abatement. This threshold is far in excess of a similar plan run by the state of Connecticut and far above that allowed by our neighboring towns for their seniors.
The ordinance for senior tax relief was put in place years ago to help seniors living on Social Security only, or S.S. and maybe a small pension. As the ordinance currently exists, rather than help the needy in their old age, it now is transferring tax liability from all seniors to everyone else in town, just because they have reached the age of 65.
$149,000 is currently being transferred to those under 65, and that number will increase as more, and more Baby Boomers reach age 65. Thus this ordinance is unsustainable and needs to have the thresholds reset so that it is helping those who are in financial need not just because a person of means has reached the age of 65.
If this issue should make you upset also, then by all means, please call or write your selectmen with your concerns.