Voters will have an additional decision to make when they head to the polls in November after Catoosa County officials approved a resolution calling for a vote on a proposed school tax exemption for senior citizens.
During the Aug. 20 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, Catoosa County Attorney Chad Young explained the resolution, which will essentially let the public decide if seniors will receive a tax break on the school portion of the tax bill.
“It’s a resolution to authorize the board of elections to issue the call for a special election on Nov. 5, and that would put the question before the voters of whether to approve an exemption for individuals that are 65 years of age or older and who have an annual income of $30,000 or less,” Young explained.
The exemption considers that most of the seniors impacted have spent years paying taxes, no longer have children in the school system, and are on fixed incomes.
“If it’s approved, those individuals could exempt their school tax up to a $100,000 home. Essentially, they would pay no school tax on a home with an assessed value of at least $100,000,” Young said.
Young added that the decision to call for the election had to be made with November just a couple of months away.
“The local act was adopted by the governor on April 30 and that act requires that the special election be held on Nov. 5,” Young explained. “If we don’t hold it on Nov. 5, then it all goes away and we have to start over again from scratch if we want to try this again with the legislature.”
One upside to the vote occurring Nov 5 is that it will coincide with the municipal elections already taking place for the cities of Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe.
“The Board of Elections is combining with the city of Ringgold’s municipal election to save as much as we can in cost,” Young said.
After the resolution was unanimously approved, Commissioner Jeff Long thanked the school system, as well as the local and state officials that worked to put the resolution together.
“It took a lot of work to get this on. We’ve been working on this for about three years at least, so this is a good thing for a lot of our seniors,” Long opined.