Dear Decaturish – Decatur schools homestead tax exemption will help seniorsWillie Mae Murray, 89, has lived in her home on East Pharr road for 47 years. Her home was one of 24 rehabilitated during Decatur's annual MLK Service Project that ended Jan. 20, 2014. File photo
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When I read the letter from Tom Stubbs urging citizens to vote no on the proposal to reduce seniors’ taxes to fund city schools, my initial reaction was to ignore it. However, as a 74 year old who has resided in Decatur for the past 36 years, I feel moved to respond.
Like many other senior Decatur residents, I have never had children in the Decatur school system but nevertheless have paid taxes for 36 years to support the schools. I had no objections to doing so when I was working. Now my husband and I are living on fixed retirement income and money is not so plentiful. Paying school taxes is no doubt a hardship for many seniors in Decatur. Do any of us want to think of our own parents or grandparents being forced to leave their homes because of the high cost of property taxes, taxes going to provide services that are of no benefit to them?
I have no idea how many Decatur residents are over 65. Viewing those I see walking or riding in the neighborhood, most appear much younger. As for seniors moving into the city, I doubt there will be a mass influx. I could not afford to buy my current residence today. I suspect the same is true of many other older people.
I don’t know how old Mr. Stubbs is. I gather that he has school age children. I can understand that he wants them to get the best education possible. But should we older Decatur residents have to pay for their education? I suspect that he may feel otherwise when he too is living on retirement income.
I love living in Decatur. We have a wonderfully diverse community, some of whom are over 65. I’m sure most of us would like to age in place. Voting yes on Senate Bills 340, 342, and 343 will allow us to do so. I hope you will give serious consideration to voting for approval of these bills to help your older neighbors continue to live in Decatur.
– Judy Mozley