Public debate stalls action at city council meeting

NORWICH Following three public hearings that resulted in little public support for city action, one proposed ordinance was turned down by city legislators on Thursday while another passed, and a third was tabled until a 2014 city budget is presented.

In light of what some city residents called an unfair shift of the tax burden, council members deliberated before passing a resolution to provide a partial tax exemption for residents age 65 and older. The new law will allow elderly residents below a certain income threshold to be exempt of a percentage of property taxes; but residents argued other tax payers will be strained to make up the difference.

According to City Treasurer Bill Roberts, only 72 of a total 2,375 taxable parcels in the city are eligible for the exemption, resulting in a loss of approximately $6,500 annually. The tax levy increase will be distributed to residents city-wide, meaning each taxpayer can expect to pay an additional $2.84 over the course of the year.

Despite the nominal tax increase, Its not a good time to give away tax breaks, argued city resident Jason Miller. I know many seniors are on a fixed income and have a lot of challenges, but you are really shifting the tax burden ... I would encourage the council to not agree with this ordinance.

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