City raises senior tax exemption cutoff

The Dunkirk Common Council unanimously raised the cutoff for a senior citizen tax exemption program last week to $22,000.

Taxing entities in New York can offer as much as 50% cuts in property tax bills for low-income senior citizens. According to the New York State Taxation and Finance Department, “To qualify, seniors generally must be 65 years of age or older and meet certain income limitations and other requirements. For the 50% exemption, the law allows each county, city, town, village, or school district to set the maximum income limit at any figure between $3,000 and $50,000.”

The city of Dunkirk’s previous cutoff for the program was a $20,000 salary. City Treasurer Mark Woods said increasing the exemption would allow four individuals to join the program. There are currently nine city property owners in the program, he said.

“Factored over the tax rate for the city, we’re looking at a few cents per individual. It’s really budget-neutral,” Woods said.

Councilmember Nancy Nichols asked if the exemption cutoff could be raised again next year. Woods said that it could.

“I want to point out that these residents are the ones who will put these savings right back into the local economy… It’s worth exploring helping more homeowners next year,” said Councilmember Natalie Luczkowiak.


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