Senior exemptions could cost Decatur schools $2 million

If SB 343 passes in November, thus exempting Decatur homeowners 65 and over from paying the school ad valorem tax on their homes, City Schools Decatur could lose over $2 million from its general fund.

CSD already offers partial exemptions to certain residents 62 and over and to disabled veterans, surviving spouses and their minor children. Residents 80 and over with a household income not exceeding $40,000 receive 100 percent exemptions.

Through current exemptions the school system lost $1.3 million last year according to CSD’s Director of Finance Susan Hurst. If SB 343 passes Hurst believes it would cost CSD at least another $750,000, though it might be several weeks before she knows for sure.

How much the senior tax exemptions will cost non-seniors is still unknown.

“If the growth in the tax digest (it increased 20 percent last year) doesn’t make up for [the exemption] we may have to raise the millage [currently 18.66 mills],” Board Chair Annie Caiola said last month. “So it is possible this exemption may cost [non-senior] tax payers more.”

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