Monday, May 18, 2009

No Decision Yet on Tax Freeze

A committee studying the possibility of freezing the property tax rate for some Putnam County senior citizens has decided to gather more information before coming to a recommendation, but most members of the committee say a tax freeze simply wouldn't benefit enough people to offset the additional tax burden on others. Committee member Sue Neal noted that most of the counties that have introduced the tax freeze have had to raise rates on others by some four percent. And member Greg Rector noted that Putnam County already allocates $95,000 a year to assist about 950 low income seniors. He says even under the rules of the tax freeze program, not all seniors would qualify. By some estimates, just 450 additional residents would qualify for any tax relief and that would come at an increased cost to the thousands who don't qualify. Still, commissioner Johnnie Wheeler, a proponent of the freeze, says that there are a number of programs that burden the average taxpayer -- some of which she agrees with and some of which she doesn't. She says that helping the elderly is something worthy of pursuing.