Troy to consider property tax freeze for senior citizens
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
Messenger Associate Editor
Members of the Troy board of aldermen learned Monday night they will have several things to consider during the new year thanks to the state legislature.
Mayor Jimmie Hart said the board will be asked to consider a property tax freeze for senior citizens in Troy.
He said policy makers in Nashville approved the measure, which authorizes county and municipal governments to approve a tax freeze program for the elderly. The two forms of government can act on the program independently and, just because one decides to approve it, it does not mean the other will.
“The county can do it or the city can do it. The city can do it on its own. It’s not automatic,” he said, adding it’s not “compulsory. We do not have to do it.”
Should the city decide to enact a tax freeze for senior citizens, those residents must qualify by meeting several stipulations, including, but not limited to, being age 65 or older, owning the residence and having some form of income.
The property tax would be frozen at the amount the taxpayer is to pay in the year the program is approved. The governmental body which passes the tax freeze program can “undo” the program at any time.
“There are a lot of things to think about,” Hart told the board, noting that one of those things is the amount of income it would take away from the city’s coffers.
The mayor said Municipal Technical Advisory Service officials suggest cities defer any action on the program until after they have reviewed it.
Hart said the state now says cities must have municipal travel policies and must report to the state whether the city plans to follow the state or federal mileage reimbursement rates.
“We don’t have to do it tonight, but we do need to do it in the next few weeks,” he added.
The state is also recommending cities maintain a central location for records, with one person in charge of those records, Hart said. He said the state suggests it is “never permissible to take the records from the records office” and no paperwork should ever be removed from personnel records.
The state now says it is the decision of the police chief to release information from a personnel file about any police officer. Should the chief decide not to release the information, he must state a reason in writing. Should the chief decide to release information, he must notify the police officer of his actions prior to releasing the information.
The mayor and aldermen are also required to file appropriate paperwork electronically with the Ethics Committee before Jan. 31.
A meeting was to be held in Jackson today by the Tennessee Municipal League to review legislative priorities for 2008.
In other business, the board:
• Heard TML found several items to be corrected during its annual inspection. Among them were police officers should wear their body armor, a stop sign should be replaced at Peabody and Westbrook streets, absorbent material should be placed around the playground equipment at City Park and sidewalks at 116 Polk, 206 Maple and directly across from 125 Cochran streets be repaired. A portable basketball goal which was placed near the roadway at 206 Maple was also noted, but corrective action has been taken.
“The things they write may keep us from having a lawsuit,” the mayor said.
Hart added all police officers do have vests and he can see why they are reluctant to wear them, especially in the summer. He said the insurance company “highly recommends” the city have a written policy requiring officers wear their protective vests.
• Was reminded of a Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting to be held at the Obion County Sheriff’s Department Jan. 15.
• Learned vandals broke the glass out of the door at the community center. Several businesses in town were also vandalized.
• Was informed the town is storing items for the Shriners to be used by Obion County residents in need. Items include such things as hospital beds, wheel chairs, lift chairs, walkers and electric scooters. Alderman Jess Whitesides, who is a Shriner, said the items are available free of charge for those who need to use them. He said residents can call him at 536-6717 so the items can be delivered when needed and picked up when they are no longer of use to the resident. People who have such objects to donate may also call Whitesides.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.08