North Branford may raise senior tax credit by $100

Published: Wednesday, March 4, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

NORTH BRANFORD — The Town Council is considering increasing the senior citizen property tax credit to $300 from its current rate of $200 per family.

The council held a public hearing on the issue Tuesday, at which the only speaker was resident Roger Munck, who has repeatedly raised the issue of senior tax relief at council meetings in recent months.

Munck said he thought increasing the tax credit was a good first step, but he added that the council should do more to reduce elderly residents’ taxes.

“What’s got to happen is you’ve got to work for people on fixed incomes … to (have their taxes) be frozen,” he said. “Their taxes have got to be frozen just like their incomes.”

The council did not act on the tax credit. Town Manager Richard Branigan said a resolution to increase the credit will most likely appear before the council at its next regular meeting March 17.

The proposal to increase the cap would also raise the income limit for participants in the program, which is set at $40,000 per person or $45,000 per couple. The credit applies to residents over age 65 who have lived in town for at least two years.

Branigan said he is not recommending that the council increase the total amount of tax money that can be credited to residents through the program. That cap is $75,000.

If the amount of tax credit applied for overran the cap, Branigan said, the $75,000 would be evenly divided between the number of people who had qualified for the tax relief. Last year, he said, the town credited about $40,000 in taxes through the program.

Branigan met with Munck and a small group of other concerned residents to discuss senior tax relief earlier this year.

Deputy Mayor Joanne Wentworth said she would like to do more to help senior citizens struggling with high taxes, but the town is constrained by the economic situation this year.

“I don’t think it’s going to go away — I think we’re going to look at more things,” Wentworth said. “I just don’t know how we can do it (this year).”

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