The Town Council acknowledged receipt of a report relating to the 2023 Senior Tax Relief Program from the tax assessor, Clinton Swett, during the January 9, 2023 council meeting. Per the Chapter 27 Property Tax Assistance Ordinance, adopted by the council on January 14, 2019, the tax assessor is required to submit a report to the Town Council by December 31st of each year. Swett, who reviewed his report at the council meeting said, "The senior tax relief program is in its fifth year and is more popular than ever." This year there were 198 applications, up by 12 from last year. "In a time of need we are really helping seniors out and that's a good feeling," Swett said. Out of the total applications submitted, 20 were denied for various reasons.
Swett also provided the Town Council with an update on the Property Tax Stabilization / Senior Tax Freeze. The legislation enacted by the Maine Legislature in 2022 allows seniors 65 years and older, who have a homestead exemption and choose Maine as their primary residence to "freeze" their taxes based on 2022/2023 taxes. The state will make the "town whole" the next fiscal year. Nearly 1100 Cape Elizabeth applications were submitted and of those, only 11 were denied. "The good news is that for the first year, the state of Maine will reimburse the town for the difference and the town will be made whole. The bad news is that I don't know how long this will be sustainable," Swett said. Next year, Swett will send the applications for both of the senior tax relief programs to all who applied for the tax freeze this year.
As for the Town Revaluation, Swett said that the work is, "Comfortably over halfway done and we are on target to finish fieldwork by the spring of 2023." Swett also reported that the field workers have had, "nothing but praise" for the Cape Elizabeth people they have met.