PROSPECT — The Town Council last week approved sending a proposed ordinance that would provide property tax credits to senior citizens and totally disabled homeowners to a public hearing.
The public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
Under the proposed ordinance a resident that is at least 65 years old or receives permanent total disability benefits under Social Security, and owns property in the town, is able to apply for a tax credit of up to $400.
“It’s just a way of trying to keep senior citizens in their home. It is not a whole lot of money, but it is a step in the right direction,” Town Council Chairman Tom Galvin said.
Under the proposed ordinance, the amount of credit people receive will be based on how long they have lived in town.
Residents who have lived in Prospect for one to five years can receive 25 percent of the credit, those who have lived in town six to 10 years can receive 50 percent, residents who have lived in town 11 to 20 years can receive 75 percent, and residents who have lived in Prospect for 21 years or more are eligible for the full amount.
The proposed ordinance is in addition to the tax credit for senior citizens issued by the state that the town already has in place. Under the state’s program, seniors 65 years and older who meet certain income requirements can receive a $200 credit on their property taxes.
Under the state program, a single person can’t earn more than $34,000 in yearly salary and a married couple can’t earn more than $42,000.
The town’s proposal has income requirements that are one and half times the state’s requirements.
“That means if you qualify for the state’s credit you qualify for this one as well,” Galvin said.
Aside from helping seniors stay in their homes longer, the proposed ordinance could also be a financial benefit to the town in the long run.
Galvin said a recent survey showed how much more expensive it was to have a family with children rather than an elderly couple living in town.
It costs the town approximately $10,000 in taxes per year to send a child to public school, Galvin said. This means that if elderly residents sell their homes to families with children, it will cost the town more in the long run, he said.
“Although we are giving [seniors] $600, it is probably a good investment if they can stay in their house a little longer,” Galvin said.