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Commissioner: Solid waste exemption too obscure
Marion Stevens CMYK
Marion Stevens - photo by Courier file photo
Tax breaks may be easier to come by once Liberty County commissioners re-evaluate the solid waste exemption.
“The solid waste exemption is the only exemption you have to return to qualify for it each year,” Commissioner Marion Stevens told the board during its meeting Tuesday.
Senior citizens are eligible to save up to $105 if they remember to apply by the March 1 deadline.
Commissioners passed the ordinance in 2007, but not many are taking advantage of it and Stevens said he hates to see the county’s elderly population miss the opportunity.
“They didn’t remember to do so and I think that’s one of the problems,” Stevens said. “When you get a certain age you just don’t remember everything.”
“Commissioner Stevens is correct,” tax commissioner Virgil Jones told the board. “We have a lot of senior citizens that they are definitely grateful of being exempt…but many are finding it difficult to apply and remember to apply.”
The solid waste assessment exemption is for those in the S-4 tax base, making $25,000 or less a year.
“You would be surprised what that $105 they save would mean to them,” Jones said.
Jones suggested sending reminder notices or allowing residents to apply by mail.
Either way, the board would have to amend the ordinance.
Commissioner Gary Gilliard asked Jones if there was a way the office could automatically mark the accounts that qualify and take care of the renewal for the seniors.
“There’s a cutoff and I believe everyone should be made to meet the deadline,” Jones said.
“I can see the reminder,” said Commissioner Eddie Walden.
But he thinks it should be applied for in person, comparing it to the annual renewal requirement on trailer decals and car tags.
“I don’t see how you can keep up with it unless they come up and apply,” Walden said.
“It sounds like if they were notified, they would come in,” said Commissioner Pat Bowen.
Chairman John McIver said the board will follow-up with solid waste director Dave Sapp in a work session.
“I think it may work out,” McIver said.
“I didn’t want to hear concerns from our taxpayers and not bring it to you because these are the people we have been elected to represent,” Stevens said.
“It may not seem like a lot of money to a lot of us, but to them, it’s a big issue,” Jones said of the seniors who have called his office.
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