Veterans who live in Orange will get a few dollars off their property assessments as a thank you for their service. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on a proposal by Clerk of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee at the CT General Assembly, Paul Tarbox, to increase the reduction on a veteran’s current property assessment from $10,000 to $20,000.
To qualify for the deduction, recipients must be over 65years of age and meet income requirements. Currently, about 172 of the more than 14,000 residents in Orange meet the requirements which will amount to an actual reduction in a veteran’s tax bill of about $644 per year. Under the currently policy, veterans receive an annual tax break of about $322. The pool of recipients dwindles each year due to death or sale of the house.
First Selectman Jim Zeoli said increasing the assessment deduction will result in an additional $50,000 less in the town’s tax coffers each year. With the current $10,000 assessment reduction, the town has a cash loss of $55,384. “We support this 110 percent,” Zeoli said on behalf of the Board of Selectmen. “The loss of tax dollars to the town is well worth the investment in our veterans.”
Tarbox, who is also a veteran and resident of Orange, was very happy about the Board’s decision. As for a quote, “Orange has a long history of being ‘pro-veteran’. It is an appreciated gesture to those that have sacrificed much to preserve our democracy.”
Tarbox reported his department does not have current figures about how many of the state’s 169 municipalities offer the tax program for veterans but according to information from 2015, 77 municipalities out of the 148 who responded to the survey said they participate to some degree.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent