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Georgia House has yet to take up City Schools of Decatur’s senior tax break legislation

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Georgia House has yet to take up City Schools of Decatur’s senior tax break legislation

Georgia State Capitol. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur is seeking to update its senior homestead exemption, but the bill has yet to appear on the floor of the Georgia House for a vote.

Today, March 23, is day 38 of the legislative session. The last day of the session is March 29.

The school district has a redistricting bill in the House as well. That bill also has yet to be voted on by the House. The legislation passed the state Senate on March 9.

“Our lobbyists are continuing to work with our delegation to move our local legislation through the approval process,” School Board Chair James Herndon said. “If the local senior tax exemption legislation is not approved, the Senior tax exemption will expire on Dec 31, 2023. If the reapportionment legislation does not pass, the district will be out of compliance with state law on redistricting.”

State Rep. Becky Evans said she is working on CSD’s legislation, but did not give Decaturish more details on the bills on Thursday afternoon. She said they would “absolutely hopefully” be voted on before the end of the session, and the delegation is working on some negotiations.

If the state legislature passes the exemption and it’s signed by the governor, the tax exemption will be on the ballot in November as a referendum.

The current exemptions for school taxes are:

– S-6 exemption: homeowners age 70 and above are eligible for a reduction of $200,000 of assessed home value ($400,000 appraised value) without an income cap.

– S-5 exemption: provides an exemption of $200,000 of assessed home value ($400,000 appraised value) for seniors aged 65-69 with a household federal adjusted gross income less than $53,000.

The school board did not make any changes to the S-6 exemption. The board increased the dollar amount of the household adjusted income for seniors ages 65-69 from $53,000 to $62,000 for the S-5 exemption. The board maintained the exemption of $200,000 of assessed home value ($400,000 appraised value).

The school board is aiming to extend the senior homestead tax exemption for an additional five-year period.

If the homestead exemption bill does not pass the legislature, the S-5 and S-6 exemptions will expire at the end of the year and would no longer be available to seniors. There are several other homestead exemptions that apply to city and school taxes, and those would still be available.

The school board also approved a resolution in November 2022 requesting the General Assembly reapportion the board’s election districts. Decatur has two election districts that are the same for the school board and the city commission.

For the city commission, redistricting is done through amending the city’s charter. The commission approved the new election districts at its Nov. 21, 2022, meeting and the change went into effect on Jan. 1. District 2 now extends to cover more of downtown Decatur.

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