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Ballot language for senior tax freeze to be presented

Greenville Herald-Banner - 1/2/2020

Jan. 2--The proposition for a property tax freeze for those aged 65 and older and for the disabled will be formally presented at the next Greenville City Council meeting on Jan. 14.

After about five months of gathering signatures, a petition requesting that the exemption be placed on the municipal election ballot was delivered to the city secretary's office on Dec. 10.

At the upcoming city council meeting on Jan. 14, Greenville City Attorney Daniel Ray will present the recommended wording for the proposition as it will appear on the actual ballot on May 2, City Secretary Carole Kuykendall told the Herald-Banner.

The proposed tax exemption is for residents aged 65 or older -- or younger people who are disabled -- and would not be a freeze on the property tax rate or the property's appraised value, but a freeze on the tax dollar amount. The exemption would also only apply to the resident's homestead, or the house in which they live, and not any rental or commercial properties they may own.

This means that -- if the freeze is approved by voters in May -- the actual dollar amount in city taxes that those who take the exemption would pay on their home would stay the same year after year, regardless of if the tax rate or the value of their home increases.

This has made the proposal attractive to many residents who are living on a fixed income such as Social Security benefits or pensions.

Greenville's municipal elections in May will, in addition to the proposed property tax freeze, also include two seats on the Greenville City Council and three on the Greenville Independent School District board of trustees.

On the city council, the elections will be for Places 3 and 4 -- which are currently being served by John Turner and Holly Gotcher, respectively. And, for the school board, the elections will be for Districts 2, 3 and 4 -- which are currently represented by Trena Stafford, Kim Butcher and Tish Woodruff.

The filing period for people who live in those member districts and wish to run for the city council or the school board is from Jan. 15 to Feb. 14.

Prospective candidates for city council will have to file with the city secretary, whose office is in the Greenville Municipal Building at 2821 Washington St. and those wanting to run for school board will need to pick up a candidate packet at the GISD communications office in the Wesley Martin Administration Building at 4004 Moulton St.

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