In talking with many of you, there is significant concern about the burden of ever-increasing property taxes, especially among seniors. Many seniors are on fixed incomes, and property tax increases due to rising home values as the county's population grows have created a financial hardship for them.
Some of you may remember what occurred in the Ogden Valley a few years ago as long-term home-owners were forced to sell, unable to keep up with rising property taxes.
The Cache County 'Board of Equalization' exists to hear resident appeals to property tax assessments. The current programs under which reductions are allowed are:
-Active Duty Armed Forces Exemption
-Disabled Veteran Exemption
-Delinquent Tax Settlement/Deferral
-Exclusive Use Exemption
-Indigent (Hardship) Abatement
Under the Hardship abatement, adjustments can be considered for widows and widowers and those over age 66 whose annual income falls below the poverty level of $34,167. This is inadequate for helping most seniors.
I would like to explore the idea of proposing either an amendment to the hardship abatement, or an additional provision, to allow resident seniors over a certain age (say 65) to reduce property taxes on their (1) principal residence (investment properties would not be eligible). The abatement would be a percentage of the total assessment with a maximum credit available. Although seniors would need to apply for the exemption, it's award would not be arbitrary and would be granted on meeting the required qualifications (age, residency, income cap (to be debated but certainly much higher than the poverty level- etc.)
Although the State Legislature controls what counties can do, there may be the ability to modiy or amend, as well as the possibility of an independent initiative. Obviously, there would need to be off-sets in the county budget to allow for this additional abatement, and this challenge would be taken up by myself and the County Council. Such an initiative would NOT result in inceased property taxes for other county residents.
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