To The Daily Sun,
I urge Gilmanton voters to vote on Tuesday, March 14, in favor of Article 22 appearing on the 2017 Town Ballot, modifying the Elderly Real Estate Tax Exemption financial qualifications of individuals and the amount of exemption from assessed value by age.
Under New Hampshire law RSA 72:39-b this exemption was established and adopted by the town in 1961. However, it is the responsibility for each town by ballot to set the criteria for the qualifying allowable income and exemption limits. In Gilmanton, these amounts were last approved in 2004, 13 years ago, and are still the current criteria.
Based on the Consumer Price Index for the Northeast, there has been at least 35 percent inflation since then. Many senior citizens live on fixed incomes which have in no way kept up with this level of inflation and real estate taxes have substantially increased over the same time period. Simply put, many of the town's seniors are getting squeezed.
Much of the open land in Gilmanton is owned by senior citizens. In every 10 year town plan the residents have listed the rural nature of the town as a top priority. If the Elderly Real Estate Tax Exemption criteria are not brought up to date many seniors will be forced to sell their land and it most probably will be developed. For those senior homeowners who do not have land, they will have to sell and move. If many senior citizens leave our town, the volunteers for all sorts of committees and events will no longer be there.
For the precise modifications, they can be seen in the Town's "Voter's Guide, Explanation of Warrant Articles, Year 2017" and David Carkhuff's Sun article of Feb. 2. Please consider voting "Yes" on Warrant Article 22.
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