ATTLEBORO — Relief for seniors facing big property tax hikes to pay for the new $260 million high school is one step closer to fruition.
The city council’s special committee for tax abatement review, headed up by councilor Diana Holmes, has sent a motion to the full council that would, if approved, increase to $58,000 the income maximum for seniors who want to defer some or all of their property taxes.
The current income maximum is $20,000.
A vote is expected next week.
Another motion would reduce the interest rate applied to deferred taxes from 8 percent to 2.5 percent.
The committee also sent a motion to the full council that would increase from 120 to 150 the number of seniors allowed to participate in the senior property tax work-off program.
In a separate action, Holmes submitted a proposal to reduce the solid waste fee by 33 1/3 percent for seniors eligible for a property tax exemption.
The current annual fee is a $202.68; a one-third reduction for eligible seniors would bring it down to about $135.
The proposal was referred to Holmes’ committee on tax abatement review.
A public hearing on the measure is scheduled for Jan. 21.
All of the changes are intended to allow more seniors to participate in tax reduction programs.
Holmes said she’s happy with the results of the committee’s efforts so far.
“I’m pleased that the council has focused on widening several programs the city does offer with the goal of assisting more seniors,” she said in an email to The Sun Chronicle. “As a whole we have been understanding and supportive of offering assistance.”
In the coming tax year, those who own homes of average value, $321,790, will see a tax increase of $257 for a total tax of $4,668.
That increase came after councilors transferred some of the tax burden from residential payers to commercial payers.
If councilors left the tax split at the current level the increase would have been $276.
Those who owned a house of average value this year had an increase of $183 for a two-year increase of $440.