Decatur’s homestead exemptions pass the Senate

Both of Decatur’s homestead exemption resolutions, one from the city the other from the school district, recently passed the state Senate by 51-0 count according Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta.

Parent added that veteran state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur also has the requisite state House signatures, meaning the resolutions could get added to that body’s consent agenda as early as Monday.

If passed by the House the exemptions would have to receive voter approval in November to become law.

The city’s proposed homestead exemption is divided into three parts, including a general exemption for homeowners 62 and over whose household income does not exceed $50,000. The schools’ exemption would eliminate payment of school ad valorem taxes on the homes of all residents 65 and over.

The school resolution, however, includes a five-year sunset provision, meaning the exemption could be revised — likely to add an income restriction — after five years.

It was Parent’s suggestion to add the sunset, though she favored a 10-year limit while the board ultimately settled on five.

“I believe that you need the ability to modify the law,” she said Thursday. “Over time circumstances change, the tax digest and demographics change.”