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School Board, committee will discuss proposed changes to Decatur’s senior tax break


School Board, committee will discuss proposed changes to Decatur’s senior tax break

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FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education. Top row, left to right: former Superintendent David Dude and School Board Chair Lewis Jones. Bottom row, left to right: School board members James Herndon, Tasha White (Vice Chair), Heather Tell and Jana Johnson-Davis. Image obtained via City Schools of Decatur


Decatur, GA — The Decatur School Board on Oct. 27 is holding a special called meeting with the committee tasked with proposing reforms to Decatur’s senior tax break.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held via Zoom. There will be an opportunity for public comment, according to the meeting agenda.

Here are the details on how to join:

Special Board Meeting w/CSD Senior Homestead Exemption Committee (Virtual):

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

06:30 PM Eastern Time

Link to Webinar: https://csdecatur.zoom.us/j/91242530790

Joining a Zoom Meeting: Click Here

First Time Zoom Users: Click Here

Meeting ID: 912 425 30790

Dial-In: +1646.558.8656, 912 425 30790#

The Homestead Exemption Committee has been meeting for months to discuss ways to reel in the tax break, which has proven costly to City Schools of Decatur.

The CSD board expected the exemption to cost the school district a $1.2 million incremental increase over the existing exemptions. In 2019 however, it cost the district an extra $3.5 million in reduced revenues, while in 2020 it cost an estimated $5.7 million.

To cover the gap, the CSD Board raised the millage rate from 18.66 to 20.25 and re-evaluated its operations.

It also did not achieve its primary objectives.

The current senior homestead tax exemption was passed in 2016, with a five-year sunset, with the stated goals of keeping seniors in the community and reducing new student enrollments. However, a study conducted by Georgia State University determined that the exemption did not achieve either of those goals.

The committee is recommending two separate exemptions. One will be for seniors 65-69, based on federal adjusted median income, with an exemption value adjusted to reflect home values. The total amount of that exemption will be capped at $1.1 million. Seniors 70+ will also receive an income-based exemption while the rest of the budgeted amount, no more than $3.2 million, will be distributed to all seniors who are 70+ regardless of income.

To view the agenda for the Oct. 27 meeting, click here.

Writer Sara Amis contributed reporting to this story. 

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