Tax exemptions on agenda

Borough Assembly has public hearing on seniors, vets ordinance

Posted: Friday, July 07, 2006

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed ordinance requiring that senior citizens and disabled veterans be eligible for an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend in order to qualify for the state’s mandated property tax exemption within the borough.

That exemption applies to the first $150,000 in assessed value on a recipients primary residence. A state law mandates that exemption.

But the ordinance would also impose other, stricter requirements on eligibility, which makes assessments above $150,000 also free from taxes. Those restrictions would require recipients not only to qualify for the state’s exemption, but also that they live in the borough for at least two years prior to the year for which an exemption is sought.

Further, those residents could not be absent from the borough longer than 90 days during the year, except for specific reasons, including such things as receiving medical care, enrollment in a full-time educational program, serving in the military, and attending to the care of a family member. Under certain circumstances, those exceptions would also apply to spouses.

Because the borough’s exemption is optional, not mandatory, as the state’s is, the borough is free to impose stricter residency requirements than those of the state.

The new restrictions are intended to help ensure that the exemptions are available to those “who are truly residents of the borough” and intend to remain here, said sponsors Gary Superman, of

Nikiski, and Deb Germano, of Homer, in an April memo to the assembly. The pair noted complaints they’d heard from constituents that some people enjoying the tax exemptions were not permanent residents because they spent most of their time Outside.

“In our view, using the permanent fund dividend criteria for eligibility will aid in enforcing the requirements of residency,” Superman and Germano said.

Tuesday, the assembly also is expected to take up another postponed item that would change the requirements for late-filing senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemption applications.

It would require that those late filings be in no later than Feb. 15 of each year.

In other business, the assembly will consider:

· Accepting a Rural Fire Assistance Grant on behalf of Kachemak Bay Emergency Service Area;

· Accepting and appropriating $10,000 from Michael Anderson as a public interest contribution to develop and conduct an Environmental Protection Symposium on Gravel Pits and Gravel Pit Operation.

· Applying $702,515 in state revenue to the borough’s unfunded Public Employee Retirement System liability;

· Accepting and appropriating a direct lump-sum payment of just over $2 million from the U.S. Forest Service for spruce bark beetle mitigation.

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