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February 10, 2004 Special meeting minutes
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
BOARD OF SELECTMEN

SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I.      TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING

Mrs. Roberts called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall.

II.     ATTENDANCE
SELECTMEN PRESENT:
Linda Roberts, First Selectman
Al Regina, Selectman
Kenneth Crouch, Deputy First Selectman
Thomas Sinsigallo, Selectman
Michael Balf, Selectman

CONSENSUS:      To schedule a special meeting for February 24, 2004 and to cancel the regularly scheduled meeting of March 2, 2004.
        
III.    TAX RELIEF FOR THE ELDERLY

The Selectmen, along with Assessor, Carol Madore and Human Services Coordinator, Elizabeth Burns, entered into extensive discussions reviewing voluminous materials provided from various agencies and current State and Federal programs in place in an effort to see if tax relief for the elderly taxpayers of East Windsor is a possibility.

Ms. Burns provided the eligibility guidelines for State and Federal programs in place for various programs such a heating aid with crisis benefits, totally disabled and elderly benefits, blind, social security disabled and veterans disabled.  The homeowners program and renters rebate program were outlined  those programs are determined by income, the income limits are set by OPM.  The Town programs include food shelf, local emergency energy funs, Salvation Army, second chance closet and holiday baskets.  

Ms. Madore outlined the homeowners program and the current 164 residents who are assisted with this program.  The previously unsuccessful freeze program was discussed as well.  The OPM income parameters are joint $32,900 and single $26,500.   These programs also encompass varied situations, widows of eligible spouses, disabled homeowners with no age requirements, active military exemption.  

Both ladies provided the timeframes for all of the various programs and how that has to come into play when determining what to do for the taxpayers.

Most of the income based programs do not take into account the taxpayers assets, i.e., cars, etc.   The reimbursement factor of local options from the State was discussed as well  

The mobile home owners who qualify as renters and may qualify as homeowners due to classifications was discussed.  This idea has to be explored.   As well as the fact that mobile homes depreciate and the mobile home owners do not own the land they reside on.  

In discussing the potential for local options and caps  10% of the Grand List last year is $1.7 million.  

There are two options available and both were discussed in depth, with pros and cons outlined.  This was the initial general discussion for the Board and ideas and proposals were discussed at large, but no actual decisions were put in to play pending further investigation and discussion.  Of note is the following:

The first decision made is the focus:  
1.  To allow elderly tax payers to reside in their homes and not be taxed out of them.  or
     2.        To allow Seniors to pass their houses to their Estate.

The consensus at this point was to allow elderly tax payers to not be taxed out of their homes.

Tax Credit:  The fact that this program targets a segment of the population, thus spreading the tax liability over the remaining taxpayers, and whether this is unfair to younger taxpayers to accept the additional burden or just since the younger taxpayers use more services was discussed at length.    There is a cap in place for this program.

Tax Deferral:  Concept:  lien on the property each time for unpaid taxes  payment to town of liens when property is sold.  The time and labor to instill such a program was discussed, as was the idea of having a property entailed after the death of the homeowner, thereby lessening the Estate for the heirs.  The liens would be considered assets eventually collected, similar to escrow accounts.   An example given for the deferral, using a 100,000 house, over a cap of 20 years  age 65 apply, over 20 years a $100,000 house would pay $2500 a year in taxes x 20 years would be $50,000 in liens.  Even if the house is run down at the end of 20 years, it is feasible that the building lot will sell for at least $50,000, thereby the Town recoups its monies.  The Town tax lien is considered the #1 debtor.    There is no cap for this program and this program allows for partial payment and/or deferral of taxes.  

The option of a taxpayer just stopping the payment of taxes instead of entering a program was discussed.  The programs and liens would have a lower percentage rate (interest linked to Town borrowing rate) than the unpaid interest rate, thereby making it more feasible to enter a program and lien the property at a lower interest rate.  

Residency requirements  one year.
Income qualifications based on OPM
Numbers need to be run in order to see what type of effect any local option would have  using a hypothetical number of 300 taxpayers in the program.  


Reconvened discussion:

Discussions on the Assessor working the numbers and using a sliding scale which will give projections so the Board can decide what the Town can do , if anything, to provide tax relief for the elderly.



MOTION: To go out of agenda order to Item 4. Executive Session.
                Made by Mr. Regina, seconded by Mr. Crouch.
ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR, MOTION CARRIED.

4.       Executive Session
A.      In accordance with Connecticut General Statutes 1-200 (6) (b) re: pending litigation

MOTION:         In accordance with CGS 1-200(6)(b),  enter into Executive Session at 9:00 p.m., to include the Assessor.
        Made by Mr. Regina, seconded by Mr. Crouch
ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED.

MOTION: To come out of Executive Session at 9:30 p.m.   
        Made by Mr. Sinsigallo, seconded by Mr. Regina.
ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED.

MOTION: To settle the appeal of 17 Thompson Road (CV 03 0522506 S) as recommended by the Assessor
        Made by Mr. Regina, seconded by Mr. Sinsigallo
ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR.  MOTION CARRIED.

        2.  Acceptance of open Space/Referral to Town Meeting
        This was for the Board’s information and no action need be taken.  It is in regards to the Schoolhouse on Barber Hill Road given to the Town.

3.      Tax Refunds
MOTION: To approve the tax refunds in the amount of $4,739.45  as recommended by the Tax Col    lector
        Made by Mr. Crouch, seconded by Mr. Sinsigallo.
ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR. MOTION CARRIED



IV.     ADJOURNMENT


Upon a motion by Mr. Sinsigallo, seconded by Mr. Balf, it was unanimously
VOTED:  To adjourn the meeting at 9:45 p.m.


* Starred items were not discussed, but will remain on the agenda pending receipt of additional information.

Respectfully submitted,


Cynthia D. Croxford
Recording Secretary