Senior tax deferment increase goes to town meeting Wednesday
Boosting the income limit on the town’s tax deferment program for financially-strapped senior citizens — from $55,000 to $65,000 — will finally come before voters at a town meeting Wednesday, Sept. 18 in town hall.
The combined public hearing and town meeting will start at 7:30, following that evening’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting that starts at 6:30.
The program, first adopted in 1997, allows lower-income homeowners over the age of 65 — or any homeowner who is “totally disabled” — to postpone paying town property taxes on a “principal residence” in Ridgefield, with taxes and interest due at the time of “a change in ownership or when the property is no longer the principal residence of the applicant.”
The interest rate, set by the Board of Finance, is “approximately the borrowing cost to the town.”
A taxpayer is bumped out of the program if their income rises too much, and another change proposed would raise the level at which a property owner becomes ineligible for the deferment, from $40,000 to $65,000.
The changes to be considered by voters Wednesday grew out of several proposals put forward by John Fisher of the OWLS senior citizens group, aimed at ease the tax burden on older Ridgefielders. His ideas were discussed by the selectmen on and off for much of the first half of the year, and increasing the deferment level was the only one the selectmen approved sending to voters.
The selectmen’s vote to send the proposal to a town meeting took place late last spring, but with summer just ahead they scheduled the town meeting for the fall when there wouldn’t be a lot of people away on vacation.