The Sudbury Board of Selectmen met with Dave Levington, Sudbury’s Advisor for Senior Tax Issues, to hear a report outlining the results of the first year of the implementation of the new means tested senior tax exemption program. Mr. Levington reported that of the 124 seniors who applied, 118 received a tax reduction under the program. The median age of the recipients is 80 years or older, the median length of residency in the Town is over 30 years, and the median qualifying income is $37,200. The Board of Selectmen expressed great satisfaction from hearing these results, noting that this was a citizen led effort to create this program. Board members noted the State Legislature enacted this Special Act for Sudbury as a 3 year pilot program so that it could be evaluated to see if this type of effort could be successfully implemented and provide the targeted tax relief that would enable seniors to stay in their homes and their communities.
Mr. Levington recapped a brief history of efforts to address the issue of property tax burden on lower income senior residents, focusing particularly on the state’s Circuit Breaker program. This program, while successfully aiding many seniors across the Commonwealth, still leaves seniors in many affluent suburban communities in the position of paying over 10% of their income for property taxes, which often contributes to the decision of many seniors to move from communities they have lived in for decades. Mr. Levington and Ralph Tyler, another Sudbury resident, worked to create a program that would reduce the tax burden of targeted seniors to 10% of income, after they have qualified for the Circuit Breaker program. With support from the Sudbury Board of Selectmen and Sudbury’s Town Meeting, Representative Tom Conroy of Wayland and Representative Jay Kaufman of Lexington guided the legislation into enactment.
The report concludes that study will continue as the program prepares for the second and third year of operation, which is all that the 3 year pilot program provided for. Sudbury leaders will be meeting with legislators to continue the discussion about senior tax relief efforts and the question of extending this program beyond the 3 year pilot period.
To view the Board of Selectmen’s meeting, please go to SudburyTV.org to view a replay of the Board’s 2.25.2014 meeting. To read the progress report to the Board of Selectmen, please see Sudbury's Means Test Senior Tax Exemption Progress Report.