OSWEGO – Mayor Billy Barlow is proposing to update and expand several tax exemptions for Oswego residents 65 years old and older, likely living on fixed incomes.
The proposal raises the income threshold for seniors to be eligible for an exemption from city property taxes, along with water bills from a $25,000 cap to a $30,500 cap, an alteration he said is long overdue.
Mayor Barlow also plans to introduce two new tax exemptions to city residents.
Similar to the exemption for low-income seniors, Barlow wants to add a veteran’s exemption for those who served during the Cold War and an exemption for Gold Star Parents, mothers and fathers who lost sons or daughters in the United States Armed Forces.
“Offering financial relief to our senior citizens living on limited incomes is simply the right thing to do. We have worked hard to improve the financial position of the city over the last three years so that we could offer relief in the form of lower taxes and expanded exemptions to our residents,” Barlow said. “We’ve significantly reduced overtime expenses city-wide, found efficiencies to cut operating costs and streamlined government. Now that we are realizing the savings, we can ease the financial burden on our residents and senior citizens with limited incomes should be the first to feel the financial relief.”
“It is also an honor to propose a tax exemption offering a tax break to our Cold War veterans who served our country along with our Gold Star Mothers. Honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our country, and their families, is very important. Offering this tax exemption is the least we can do to show our appreciation,” Barlow added.
President of the Common Council, Robert Corradino, said he fully supports updating the income limits and thresholds and praised the idea of implementing an exemption for Cold War veterans and Gold Star Mothers in the community.
“This initiative to update the income guidelines for our city residents is long over due and I fully support it. It has been more than two decades since this exemption was updated and it is the right thing to do immediately for the people who use this program,” Corradino said.
The veterans of the Cold War exemption will allow for a 15% exemption of the assessed value of the property, not to exceed $12,000.
The Gold Star Parents exemption ranges between a 15% – 25% exemption depending on the time period in which they served and the medals received.
The Senior Citizen exemption set forth by local law was last adjusted in 1995 and Barlow said the income thresholds are so outdated most seniors do not fall within the income thresholds allowing them to be eligible for the exemption.
The mayor will present his proposal to the councilors on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.