Ordinance revisions go 4 for 4

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Beacon Falls selectmen David D’Amico, left, and Chris Bielik count votes during a town meeting Wednesday night at the firehouse. –LUKE MARSHALL
Beacon Falls selectmen David D’Amico, left, and Chris Bielik count votes during a town meeting Wednesday night at the firehouse. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Over 160 people filled the firehouse for a town meeting Wednesday night to cast their vote on four proposed ordinance revisions, approving each one.

The change that drew the largest crowd was to the ordinance concerning the local option tax relief for elderly and disabled homeowners.

Since the ordinance’s inception in 2006 residents 65 years old and older have received a $500 tax credit, which is the largest amount that the town was legally allowed to give out.

The ordinance stipulated the total of all tax credits given by the town can’t exceed .05 percent of the prior year’s total real estate assessment, which would mean this year the most the town could give to eligible seniors would be $200.

The revision raises the percent the town can’t exceed to 10 percent, which aligns it with state statutes, thus allowing the town to maintain the $500 tax credit for seniors.

Proponents of the revision said many seniors live in private communities where they pay to have the roads plowed and garbage removed, which are services the town provides other residents.

Resident Rodger Addil said having seniors in town is actually a benefit for other residents.

“Anything the town can do to encourage seniors to stay in town is a benefit. Most seniors do not have children, and as we all know the biggest part of our budget is education. By a senior staying here in town this helps the town of Beacon Falls offset this tremendous burden on the taxpayer,” Addil said.

However, not everyone agreed.

Resident Gary Komarowsky said given Pond Spring Village and Chatfield Farms, both of which are communities for senior citizens, have empty housing units and the ability to expand, the ordinance could cost the town a lot more money than it does right now.

“You would have to have your basic mill rate increase and this would negatively affect the people who this ordinance was meant for, those of limited means. That’s the reason I’m asking you to reject this ordinance as it presently stands,” Komarowsky said.

Ultimately, the change was approved by 87 votes, 125 to 38, with one abstention.

The other three revisions were all approved as well without as much discussion.

The noise ordinance was revised to cover the use of all-terrain and recreational vehicles in town. The change makes it illegal to ride ATVs and other recreational vehicles within 50 feet of a property line and sets fees for violators.

The final two revisions eliminated the Board of Assessors, which has not been operational since the town started paying assessors, and added the land steward and a person from the Water Pollution Control Authority to the Land Use Committee.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Just a few questions. I thought both communities mentioned here are actually Age 55 Active Communities? That is what I remember being sold to the Town. So, it appears that the people living there are actually Age 65 and older? So how many of these households qualify under the program (age and income) and how many have actually applied for the credit?

    Doing the math, if completely sold out there will be 400 or so total units (actually more then 400). Using round numbers: If all pay $5,000 in taxes the Town collects $2,000,000. If all 400 units qualify for the program, the Town pays out $200,000. That is a net $1,800,000 in favor of the Town.

    So, if the Town lowers the income limits, the Town may reduce the payout by a few households. If the Town keeps the income limits a few more taxpayers may move into these communities and increase the net win-win for the Town.

    I change my mind from what I have expressed in previous Blogs. Offer the $500 credit. It benefits everyone in Town.

  2. The mathematically challenged Mr. Komarowsky doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that the senior communities are a bonanza for Beacon Falls. If the average Chatfield homeowner pays $7,500 for auto and real estate taxes and gets a $500.00 tax abatement, the town nets $7,000 because Chatfield residents get virtually zero services for their tax dollars. On the other hand, if a family moves to town with two children into a similarly taxed home, and if the children don’t have special needs, they will cost the town over $30,000 to educate for a net loss of $22,500. If they’re special needs students, the cost can run $100,000 per child or more. This family will also get their trash collected, their roads plowed, and visits from the town nurse if desired. Mr. Addil was spot on when he told the town meeting attendees “anything the town can do to encourage seniors to stay is a benefit”. It’s unfortunate Mr. Komarowsky doesn’t recognize the significant financial contributions Beacon Falls seniors make.