Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Voters expand homestead exemptions in Decatur

Unofficial results from yesterday's election show that all four proposals to expand property tax homestead exemptions in Decatur passed, including a ballot question that will exempt homeowners over the age of 65 from school taxes beginning in 2017.  Voters also approved a fifth measure which eliminates an exemption that was no longer in effect.

The vote on Senate Bill 339, which increases the basic homestead exemption to exempt $25,000 in assessed value, was the most decisive result with 86 percent approval.

SB 340, which increases the amount of assessed value exempted for homeowners over the age of 65, passed by 83 percent.

Voters favored the creation of a new exemption under SB 342 for homeowners over 62 with income under $50,000.

SB 343, the senior school tax exemption, proved to be the most controversial of the measures, but still passed handily at 75 percent.

Homeowners in Decatur who currently have the existing age 65 homestead exemption, the "GH2," will be granted the new school exemption automatically in 2017.  Homeowners with the basic homestead exemption do not have to reapply to receive the increased exemption amount; that will also be granted automatically.  The City of Decatur will provide further guidance to homeowners on how and when to apply for the new exemption under SB 342 after the election results have been certified.

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