LEGISLATURE PASSES 73% INCREASES TO COUNTY PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS
Increases for Senior Citizen and Persons with Disabilities Exemptions
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Dutchess County Legislature passed two local laws at the May Board Meeting that would increase the income limits to receive two County property tax exemptions – the Senior Citizens Exemption and Persons with Disabilities Exemption. The measures will increase the income limit to $41,600 to receive the full 50% County Property Tax Exemption and as the income gradually rises the exemption percentage decreases, ultimately ending at $49,999 with receiving a 5% exemption. The previous law set the 50% exemption income limit as $24,000. The laws will now go to the County Executive’s desk for consideration.
“At a time where every dollar counts, the Dutchess County Legislature is proud to offer measures that will provide meaningful relief to our neighbors, especially those on a fixed income like our senior citizens and disabled population,” said Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver. “This increase will work to help offset the burden of rising costs by allowing more residents the opportunity to receive the County property tax exemption, while also ensuring that the County stays within its means. Under new State authority, we are raising the income limit by $17,600 (73%) which matches inflation from the time of the last increase, and we are also giving the opportunity to examine how this affects the County’s finances to recommend further increases in the future.”
Legislator Michael Polasek (LaGrange), Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee said, “The Dutchess County Legislature has voted to lower the County property tax rate every year since 2014, which has provided relief to not only those living on a fixed income like our seniors and disabled population, but to each homeowner in Dutchess County. The intent of this legislation was to raise the income eligibility behind these property tax exemptions to match inflation and ensure that each individual is receiving a worthwhile benefit. By raising it to $41,600 a year for the full 50% County property tax exemption with a sliding scale down to a 5% exemption with a $49,999 income, it is our hope that this will offer meaningful relief to our low-income residents.”
Last year, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law legislation that raised the maximum income property owners over the age of 65 and people with disabilities would be able to earn in order to receive the County Property Tax Exemption, allowing municipalities to amend their local laws to also reflect the increase.
The intent of the legislation allowed for Counties to increase the maximum income threshold stated in their justification that “New York State has a growing number of low-income seniors on fixed incomes and persons with disabilities who have limited income who are faced with ever increasing property taxes…” Dutchess County has not increased the property tax rate in over ten years.
The income proposal of $41,600 is above the federal standard of 200% of the Federal Poverty Level for a two-person household which is $34,850 and the eligibility to receive the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is $34,250, both well-established “low-income” standards.
Majority Leader Will Truitt (Hyde Park) said, “The Dutchess County Legislature has a strong record of offering meaningful relief to its residents, and these two exemption increases are no different. The Republican Caucus has lowered people’s overall property taxes year after year, and has given relief to seniors through the budget process, despite the Democratic Caucus continuously voting no. In addition, our Caucus proposed and eliminated the Sales Tax on clothing and shoe purchases under $110 and temporarily suspended the gas tax at the height of the high energy costs. My Republican colleagues and I remain committed to finding solutions that will make it easier for our neighbors to get by and will continue to advocate for those on a fixed income.”
The Dutchess County Legislature unanimously passed a Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Service Members County Property Tax Exemption Law at their February Board Meeting and amended their local law to increase the income eligibility for the Veterans Property Tax Exemption in 2022.
The new laws will go into effects for the 2025 Tax Rolls.