City Council Passes Elderly Tax Exemption Update
Supplemental tax, vote on allowing back yard chickens, pitbull regulations tabled.
The City Council approved hiking the elderly tax exemption Monday night from $2,000 to $12,000, meant to bring it up to date with current incomes and changes to the homestead exemption.
According to the orignal proposal submitted by City Council President John Ward, to qualify, you've got to be 65 years old or older, have lived in the city for at least five years, and not make more than $30,000 (see the attached pdf).
Councilman Roger Jalette made a motion to switch the residency threshold from five years living in the city to three. Ward said he was comfortable with keeping it at five years, but asked if anyone wanted to entertain the motion.
Councilman Albert Brien seconded it, and then all the councilmen present, Christopher Beauchamp, Vice President Dan Gendron, Jalette and Brien voted for the change, and Ward added his own support to the motion, causing it to pass unanimously.
When he introduced the update to the exemption, Ward said the ordinance would help make up some of the ground older residents lose with the phase out of the homestead exemptions.
The council also tabled discussion on whether to lend their support to the enabling legislation allowing the Budget Commission to issue a supplemental tax bill, including a combination of a reduction of the homestead exemption and a supplemental car tax.
Jalette said he wouldn't support any new tax on Woonsocket citizens. "I for one can't afford it and I am part of the majority of the city of Woonsocket," he said.
Beauchamp, Gendron and Brien all said they'd prefer adding language to it saying it was contingent on the other elements of the Budget Commissions plan coming to fruition.
Ward said the General Assembly was unlikely to look on the enabling legislation favorably with that condition written in. Mayor Leo Fontaine said Budget Commission Chairman Bill Sequino would likely refuse to go forward with the supplental tax if the other parts of the Budget Commission plan don't work out. In fact, Sequino, City Finance Director Thomas Bruce and RI Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly have all said the most likely step if any of the parts of the Budget Commssion plan don't pan out, would be to take the city straight into bankruptcy.
But the majority of council members were still wary of the possibility of a supplemental tax passing alone, and they tabled the matter for a indefinite time, allowing them to raise the question again at any future meeting.
The Council also tabled a vote on ammending the city's ordinance regulating animals to allow the keeping of chickens within city limits.