ANNAPOLIS ROYAL – Low-income homeowners in Annapolis County just got some financial help from their municipal council.
Warden Timothy Habinski said in the belief that the municipality needs to increase support for its most vulnerable residents, council passed a motion in February to make a significant change to the county’s low-income property tax rebate program.
“As of this year, the income threshold for eligibility for the program has been raised from $20,500 to 24,000, and the exemption amount has been increased from $175 to $236,” Habinski said. The program is based on total household income.
“It’s one of the few places you have an opportunity in a tangible way to help the most vulnerable residents – the people you say are one of your highest priorities,” said Habinski, “and we’ve been missing that opportunity and this council didn’t want it to go on any longer and decided to do something about it. I’m really, enormously proud of the council for doing this.”
Habinski said raising the threshold from $20,500 to $24,000 will make a big difference.
“For a lot of people who are on fixed incomes that $3,500 difference is a really significant spot,” said Habinski. “It bumped a lot of them into ineligibility.”
The warden said the county had been increasing the rebate about by $5 a year which meant they would reach parity with one neighbouring county in about 15 years – if that neighbouring county didn’t change its rebate.
“You have to put your money where your mouth is,” said Habinski. “It’s not an enormous segment of our budget but it’s a place where what you do can provide a real, measurable impact on some of your poorest families. We wanted to do that.”
The county has excluded certain income from the low-income property tax rebate program household total. Income from the War Veterans Allowance Act does not have to be counted, and disability income through the armed forces Pension Act is also excluded from the household total.
The exemption will be granted only in respect of property owned and occupied by the applicant as his/her principle residence. Applications for exemptions will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on April 7. Proof of income must be presented.
Those who believe they are eligible for the property tax rebate program can contact their area councillor or one of the county’s three offices in Annapolis Royal, Bridgetown, or Lawrencetown to obtain the necessary forms.
The form is available online here.