Tax Rate Exemptions Get Updated by Town Assessor

By Alex Malm

During the most recent Town Council meeting, one of the agenda items was in regards to making updates to the various property tax exemptions in town.
It was explained by the Town Assessor, Steve Hamilton, that they were recommending to bump up the thresholds for the elderly exemption policy, along with the disability exemption policy, so that people wouldn’t be negatively impacted by the revaluations.
One question raised was what it costs the town to have the different exemptions available for homeowners.
Town Manager, Mike Malaguti, said it’s technically not costing the town anything since they are ultimately just relocating the tax burden, and still are collecting the same amount of taxes overall.
“It does not change the amount of taxes being collected,” Malaguti said.
Hamilton said that last year a total of about $31 million in property value was exempted last year.
Hamilton stated that the elderly exemption is based on the assessed value for the qualified taxpayers, and they are proposing to bump it up to $175,000 for people age 65 to 74, they are proposing to bump it up to $225,000 for someone 75 to 79 years old and anyone 80 or older would be bumped up to $300,000.
It was noted by Hamilton that the disability exemption is usually set at the lowest amount for the elderly exemption, which would be $175,000.
The Town Council approved changing the thresholds for the exemptions.
Also during the meeting, the Town Council heard a proposal to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds.
It was explained by Administrative Support Coordinator, Kirsten Hildonen, that last year during the joint loss committee meeting, which is required by insurance, where they discuss safety concerns, one of the things brought up would be to possibly have “stop the bleed kits” in Town Hall.
Hildonen said that the stop the bleed kits are something that were created in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, as a way to encourage public buildings to have appropriate supplies.
She said they had discussions about it and had consultations with the fire department about what they should have. Hildonen noted they aren’t legally required to have them.
Instead of getting the formal stop the bleed kits, she stated that it was decided they could have more elaborate first aid kits instead.
She added that the proposal was to use $505 in ARPA funds for the project to have one on each floor in Town Hall, with one being accessible to the public.
One question raised was how much was left in ARPA funds. Malaguti said they had about $2.4 million remaining.
The Town Council approved allocating the funds.

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