Com. Flowers calls for increased property tax rebate for seniors in Cochrane
The administration has been tasked by the council to bring a report on the use of the seniors’ property tax support program and the impacts of a $250 increase for the July 11 council meeting.
Eligible seniors could soon see their property tax refunds go up to $250.
Cochrane City Council member Susan Flowers gave a notice of motion at the June 13 council meeting to increase the Seniors’ Property Tax Support Program from $500 to $750.
“Taxes have increased this year, but we have not increased [the seniors property tax] since we arrived five years ago,” Flowers told the council. “I know the seniors really appreciated [the increase].
“Those on fixed incomes, who are at home and want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, it really helps them to be able to cover all their expenses while they do not benefit from any increase in their pension.”
Flowers added that the $250 hike would also reduce some of the pressure on Cochrane seniors’ facilities that are experiencing capacity issues.
“There are a growing number of elders in this community and for those who are long term, I would love to see them with this help,” she said.
The program allows homeowners aged 60 and over, whose property is in their name and is their primary residence, to apply for the rebate if they qualify through their income.
To qualify, the individual owner must have an annual income of less than $29,285. If there are two owners on the title, considered spouses, their combined income must be less than $47,545.
The four councilors who were present at the meeting voted in favor of ordering the administration to report a report on the use of the property tax support program for seniors and the impacts of a $250 increase. reimbursement for review by the Board at the July 11 regular meeting.
The city administration presented council with the proposed timeline for the 2023-2025 budget process to determine how it would like to proceed ahead of deliberations in the fall.
Some Cochrane advisers have said they would like to see a return to in-person engagements during the public comment period currently set for October 25 to November 10, in addition to the inquiry into the proposed budget which was opened to the public in may.
“I would love to see an in-person session happen one way or another,” Coun said. Marni Fedeyko, acting as deputy mayor during the meeting. “I feel like now that COVID is over, if we can be back in public for at least a day, whether or not we’re set up again at the Spray Lakes Sports Center or wherever…we should have that opportunity. where people can hang out and chat.
Fedeyko said she thinks a poll alone isn’t enough to gauge public comment.
“I would really like to hear from people and have that one-on-one dialogue again,” she said.
The results of the budget survey will be presented to the board at the July 4 meeting and deliberations are currently due to begin on November 15.