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Council members introduce bill to offer property tax freeze to more seniors

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Couples making under $35,500 would be eligible

via Flickr/Michael Cramer

A new bill being considered by city council would see more low-income senior citizens benefit from the city’s property tax freeze.

The bill, brought forward Thursday by City Council President Darrell Clarke and Council member Kenyatta Johnson, proposes amending a current city program that freezes property tax increases for homeowners over the age of 65. Currently the program applies only to single people who make less than $23,500 a year and couples who make less than $31,500 a year, but the bill would see that cap raised to $27,500 and $35,500, respectively.

“Expanding the senior property tax freeze program also will help older residents to age in place, helping them preserve what might be the most valuable asset they own, which they may then sell or pass down to family as they wish” Johnson said in a statement on the bill Thursday.

The program is just one of several measures designed to ease the burden of property taxes for low-income seniors. Another program, The Owner-Occupied Payment Agreement (OOPA), allows eligible residents to make minimum monthly payments on property taxes that are past due—at 5, 8, and 10 percent of the payment. A new addition to OOPA allows some people, including low-income senior citizens, to set up a 0 percent minimum monthly payment.