Letter: Senior tax programs: A missed opportunity
To the Editor:
Senior citizens over 65 on fixed incomes are feeling squeezed by rising property, car taxes, and new state sales taxes, property revaluations and the increased sewer fees.
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) recently looked at all the senior tax programs, both tax deferments and tax credits. After much deliberation, they only decided to only raise the income eligibility qualification level on the Senior Deferment Program from $55,000 in income to $65,000. The Deferment program today has approximately 45 participants and with this increase potentially a few more will join.
The BOS missed opportunity in three places:
1. Per the Town Plan of Conservation and Development statistics, the average Ridgefield median household income is $145,014. This makes the $65,000 appear low. It should be higher. We should survey seniors to find the right income level.
2. There should be a better arrangement then charging seniors 3-4 percent interest on this deferment loan. The (BOS) should recommend to the (BOF) to lower it or eliminate interest entirely.
3. The town has not increased the $1048 senior tax credit since 2007. Ridgefield’s grand list grows approximately 500-600k per year. We can set aside the dollars from town grand list growth before a dime in expense is spent to phase an increase of $50-75 per year increase for 2 -3 years to reach $1,200.
There are opportunities for the town government to save money, and if I am elected I will make that a priority.
We must help the seniors who continue to contribute so much to this town.
As a Board of Selectmen member, I am willing to act as liaison to the Commission on Aging, and assist with evaluating all senior programs annually.
Board of Selectmen Candidate