Council announces initiatives for seniors
April 16, 2014, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The 11th Council of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is pleased to announce tax discounts to property owners 65 years of age and over for the 2014 taxation year, as well as plans to establish a seniors’ advisory committee.
Under this new transitional plan, property owners 65 years of age and over, with combined annual household income between $26,001 and $50,000 will be able to take advantage of a 50 per cent tax discount for 2014. Property owners 65 years of age and over, with combined annual household income above $50,000 will receive a 25 per cent discount on property taxes.
“Council remains committed to ensuring tax rates are applied evenly throughout the community, and that discounts are provided to those who have the least ability to pay,” says Deputy Mayor Cora Hamel-Pardy, Chair of the Town’s Finance, Administration and Policy Committee. “As part of transitioning to a uniform tax rate, measures announced today will help ease the burden this year.”
The low-income tax discounts announced in this year’s budget will remain in effect, and will be reviewed prior to the 2015 municipal budget to determine whether or not changes will be required to the threshold levels.
The low-income discount structure is as follows:
GROSS ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
PERCENTAGE OF DISCOUNT
$0.00 to $23,000 – 100%
$23,001 to $26,000 – 75%
$26,001 to $29,000 – 50%
$29,001 to $33,500 – 25%
Property owners 65 years of age, with combined household income less than $26,001 will receive a 75 per cent discount, while those with combined household income less than $23,001 will receive a 100 per cent discount, as per the low-income rebate structure. Only one discount will apply per household.
“We have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback on our commitment to equality and ensuring those with low incomes of all ages are considered,” notes His Worship The Mayor Jamie Snook. “At the same time, Council and numerous thoughtful residents of all ages acknowledged that property owners would not have budgeted for these changes, which is why we have decided to implement new relief initiatives for 2014.”
In order to receive a discount, property owners will be required to complete an application. The information gathered will be used to determine whether or not changes will be made to the low-income thresholds in the 2015 budget.
Council is also pleased to announce that plans are under way to establish a Seniors’ Advisory Committee to provide advice on a wide range of issues. Terms of Reference for this new committee will be developed and presented at a public Council meeting in the near future. The goal is to have the committee established by this summer.