Legislation that could enable many seniors 65 and older to defer increases on property taxes was presented in Montgomery County Council this week.
Lead sponsors Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner, Councilmember Sidney Katz and Councilmember Hans Riemer, along with co-sponsors Council President Nancy Floreen and Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice, today introduced legislation that would provide seniors with tax relief and help them meet their property tax obligations in Montgomery County.
Expedited Bill 10-16 would enable seniors 65 and older, with individual or combined gross incomes of $80,000 or less, to defer increases on property taxes on their principal residence until they sell their home. Interest on the deferred taxes would accrue at a 0 percent interest. Under the income threshold of $80,000, which is the senior median income in Montgomery County, the eligibility criteria would capture approximately half of senior households in the County.
The legislation is modelled after similar programs in Howard County; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Minneapolis; Boulder County, Colo. and King County, WA.
“The County Executive has asked our Council to significantly increase property taxes, a request that my colleagues and I will be grappling with over the course of the next several weeks,” said Council Vice President Berliner in a statement. “But we know that most seniors live on fixed incomes and they worry that property tax increases will force them out of their homes and out of the county. We want our seniors, the fastest growing demographic in our county, to be able to stay in their homes as long as possible. This legislation would promote that goal by giving seniors the option to defer increases on property taxes until they sell their home.”
Councilmember Katz is aware many seniors are considering remaining in Montgomery County, and in their homes, rather than retire elsewhere. He wants to make sure they are in a better position to have that option.
“Many seniors are disproportionately affected by the current tax structure,” said Councilmember Katz. “This legislation is one way to address this and help our seniors to be able to continue to enjoy their home.”
Councilmember Riemer, who has previously advocated for tax relief for seniors, said: "Because seniors are an important part of a thriving and diverse community, we should strive to find ways to help seniors age in place. I am very happy to join in proposing this legislation today, just as I was pleased to work with my colleagues to increase the Senior Property Tax Credit in 2012."
More information about Bill 10-16 is available at http://tinyurl.com/h2cml6d .