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    Office Of The Mayor

    MAYOR DESTEFANO KICKS-OFF 2009 SENIOR TAX FREEZE APPLICATION PERIOD

    (2/3/2009) NEW HAVEN- During these difficult economic times, seniors are amongst the hardest hit. In light of the national economic crisis and the burden many seniors face, at an event at the East Shore Senior Center today, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., announced that the City would continue to offer a freeze on property taxes to eligible seniors for a third year. Eligibility for this program requires that the homeowner be 70 years of age or older, a resident of New Haven for at least 10 years and have an income of under $50,000.

    The City estimates 2,715 households meet these requirements to benefit from this tax relief. In its first year, 549 seniors took advantage of this program saving a total of $199,284. The average tax break was $400 per home. In the second year of the program 862 residents took part in the tax freeze saving seniors a total of $828,200 over the course of the program’s first two years. Seniors who participated in the program either last year or in 2007, should check with the Assessor’s office to find out whether or not they must reapply to maintain their tax freeze this year. Residents are required to reapply every two years. Therefore, all residents who initially applied in 2007 must reapply this year to maintain their benefits. The tax freeze is not automatically renewed.

    A year ago, a New Haven senior was expecting to pay $6,694. The tax freeze decreased her bill to $5,962 in residential property taxes. The freeze will save her $1,035.

    “We are proud to continue this program for our seniors,” said DeStefano. “After a lifetime of working hard they deserve to be protected from high property taxes. Real tax relief is important for all residents especially in these challenging times.”

    The tax freeze has a $2,000 cap placed on the yearly benefit that a senior may receive. Any amount over the $2,000 can either be paid by the senior or put into deferral. The tax free benefit ends when the property is sold or transferred. Seniors who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 qualify for a deferral program that allows taxes to be deferred until the property is sold or transferred out of their name. Deferred taxes are charged a prime interest rate but create an option for individuals who do not meet the income requirements of the tax freeze. Homeowners who are 62 years of age and older qualify for the freeze if their spouse met all requirements at their time of death.

    “This program has a major impact on senior homeowners in New Haven,” said Don Dimenstein, Director of Elderly Services for the City. “The last two years have been a great success. By getting the word out, working with volunteers to help seniors fill out applications and making applications very accessible, we hope to increase the number of eligible residents participating this year. Our department is excited to be a part of this program and will be available to assist seniors in filling out applications.”

    Applications for the program can be picked up at the City’s six senior centers or by contacting the Department of Elderly Services at 946-2272. Application assistance is available for any senior in the City. However, appointments are necessary to receive assistance from an elderly services employee. For appointments, please contact 946-7854.

    [END]

    Contact Name: Jessica Mayorga

    Contact Email: jmayorga@newhavenct.net

    Contact Phone: 203-946-7660


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