Council Will Discuss Tax Exemption Increase

Council President Matt Frank said this week that he would like to have a discussion at the Council about trying to combat what looks to be a significant increase in property taxes this year.

He said he would like to see if the Council can or would want to institute a temporary increase in the owner-occupied residential tax exemption.

“We’ve all seen the numbers and they’re significantly higher than last year,” he said. “In the past I haven’t been supportive of doing this, but I am anticipating a big spike in tax bills this year and I want to discuss a way of trimming that back for homeowners. I don’t know that I’d want a permanent increase, but I see an overwhelming need to at least discuss it for this year.”

City Manager Jay Ash recently shared that homeowners – except condo owners – should be prepared for a “double digit” tax increase this year – a situation buoyed up by increasing property values. Traditionally, Chelsea’s tax bill increases have been very modest and some of the smallest total property tax bills in the area.

This year things have changed a bit, though.

Already, some councillors, such as Giovanni Recupero, have signaled and interest in talking and doing something about the coming increase.

Frank, however, said he hasn’t discussed the idea with every councillor just yet, and he hopes to do that at a meeting in the near future.

On Nov. 10, the Council will hold a public hearing to take the final steps in setting the tax rate.

At that time, residents and taxpayers will be invited to participate in a public hearing with City Manager Jay Ash about the tax increase and the reasons for it. After that discussion, the Council is expected to act.

One of the three actions that will have to be taken that night will be an approval of the owner-occupied residential tax exemption program. It’s at that time that the Council will have to make a decision on whether to increase the exemption or leave it alone.

“We need to do everything we can to help the homeowners here and to keep Chelsea affordable,” said Frank. “We want people to stay in their homes and we don’t want to give them a reason to sell.”

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