Redding To Vote In Special Town Meeting On Elderly Tax Relief, Land Trust

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 The town of Redding is set to host a special town meeting on Monday, March 10 at the Redding Community Center.
The town of Redding is set to host a special town meeting on Monday, March 10 at the Redding Community Center. Photo Credit: Courtesy Town Of Redding Facebook Page

REDDING, Conn. -- The town of Redding will hold a special town meeting on Monday, March 10. 

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Redding Community Center. Several items will be discussed and votes will be held on the following items:

  • To approve the transfer of Wolfe Road to the Redding Land Trust as recommended by the Board of Selectmen;
  • To act upon the recommendation of the Board of Finance for changes to the "Elderly Tax Relief Ordinance".

The Board of Finance has made recommendations to amend the "Elderly Tax Relief Ordinance." The following are recommendations from the board:  

  • Date of Application: change the date of application from Feb. 1 to Jan. 1, and the final date for application changed from May 15 to April 15. Proof of eligibility will be required with the original application and with each renewal. With this change, sufficient time is given to the Board of Finance to determine a more accurate mill rate.
  • Eligibility age: the eligibility age would change from age 65 to age 67, following the Social Security guidelines. Those currently receiving the benefit will be grandfathered into the program but will be required to reapply on their next designated year. The age increase will be phased in with those 65 eligible to apply this year for the 2013 Grand List; age 66 for the 2014 Grand List; and age 67 for the 2015 Grand List.
  • Residency Requirement: the residency requirement will change from three years to five years. Residence of a minimum of 183 days remains in place and this must be the applicants primary place of residency
  • Reapplication: Seniors, once approved, will be required to reapply for the benefit every other year, matching the year of their birth with the odd or even year of reapplication.
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I urge all voters to attend tonight's meeting and to vote "No" on the proposed changes. State law and every other town and city in Connecticut use 65 as the eligibility age for such relief. There should be no connection between the age used for the federal Social Security retirement program and that which is used to provide seniors a property tax benefit. Older workers are leaving their jobs more frequently in their fifties as the word "retirement" is being replaced by "restructuring". This is resulting in a greater need for property tax relief at 65 than ever. Furthermore, the administrative changes in the proposed ordinance are confusing and provide a flawed enforcement provision. The "phase-in" of the change in age was supposed to provide "grandfathering" for those on the cusp of eligibility, but it fails to do so. Revision of this ordinance should be done carefully and ample time exists to do so since it will not be effective until next tax year. Why not do this right? Vote "No" tonight.... I will.