Town Council passes senior citizen property tax program  

BAR HARBOR — The town council has adopted a new ordinance that provides property tax assistance to qualifying senior citizens. 

How the Senior Taxpayer Assistance Program works is by matching the state’s Property Tax Fairness Credit program in which eligible recipients may receive a rebate on a portion of their property tax or rent paid on their tax return. 

“After the revaluation that happened last year, we realized that a big jump happened for a lot of people and we wanted to look into thinking about how to help folks who might not be able to afford that or have trouble making their tax payments,” said Town Council Chair Valerie Peacock. 

Applicants seeking to participate in the program must meet the following qualifications: be at least 65 years of age before April 1 of the program year; be a resident in the town of Bar Harbor for the last five years; receive a tax credit under Maine’s Property Tax Fairness Credit Program.  

If the applicant is a property owner, they must also have been granted the homestead exemption and paid property taxes in full through the date of application. 

The ordinance gives a max exemption of $750, or half of what the state gives for the Tax Fairness Credit Program. Town Manager Kevin Sutherland said the program should cost about $85,000. 

A resident should submit the state’s credit form along with the towns (which has yet to be developed) before the Dec. 1 deadline this year. The deadline for subsequent years will be Aug. 1.   

The rebate would be credited toward the second half of the tax bill for Fiscal Year 2021. In future years, it will be credited to the first tax bill. 

The council unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance at Tuesday’s council meeting.  

“I do hope to work with folks if they want to come in and talk about it,” said Sutherland, “and hopefully we can get organizations like the Age-Friendly Committee to help senior citizens submit their forms to the state so they can get this credit.”  

Victoria DeCoster

Victoria DeCoster

Victoria DeCoster covers the Bar Harbor area including town boards and committees. She recently moved to the island after graduating from Syracuse University last year. Contact Victoria with tips and story ideas at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.