Concerned about making Middletown as affordable as possible for seniors, veterans and the handicapped, Town Councilman Dennis Turano proposes increasing tax exemptions by 10 percent, an idea welcomed by his colleagues.

The following is a press release from the Town of Middletown;

The Town Council looks to be moving forward with an additional 10 percent tax exemption for seniors, veterans and those who are blind.

At a meeting earlier this week, local leaders backed the concept from Councilman Dennis Turano, who frequently speaks about the need for the Town to do more to make the community more affordable.

A report from Tax Assessor George Durgin indicated raising the residential and commercial tax rates a penny apiece in Fiscal 2023 would generate the necessary funding to cover the gap created by the exemption.

Before the changes go into effect next tax season, the council needs to amend Town ordinances to increase the exemption. The item is expected to go to a public hearing at an upcoming council meeting for consideration and discussion.

“I had actually brought this up at a previous meeting and got the opinion from the council that this is something they’d like to learn more about and maybe consider making a change to the exemptions for the seniors, veterans and handicapped,” Turano said.

Every summer, the Town pushes out tax bills to all property owners to collect the necessary money to run the community. Normally, the first bills are due in mid-September.

Property taxes are charged based on assessments generally performed by an independent third party to determine the value of an individual’s land, buildings and similar items.

Currently, the Town offers tax exemptions for seniors, veterans and the blind to try to make Middletown more reasonably priced to live. Specifically, Durgin said the exemptions are for:

  • The blind.
  • Seniors, those who are age 65 and older.
  • Veterans and widows of veterans.
  • 100 percent disabled veterans.
  • Specially adapted housing for disabled veterans.
  • Gold Star parents.
  • Prisoners of war. 

Durgin said the total amount of exemptions from all seniors, veterans and blind across the community equaled about $92,616,000. If the 10 percent exemptions increase is approved, he said that total was projected to increase to about $101,356,000.

The average exemption from the Town is about $45,000 off a tax assessment, Durgin said. 

With the proposal before the council, that amount for the average exemption was projected to increase to $49,000-$50,000. Depending on factors, he said some property owners can have exemptions up to about $115,000.

The deadline to file exemptions with the Tax Assessor’s office is the end of business on Dec. 31. Forms are available online at https://www.middletownri.com/303/Tax-Assessor-Department online and at the assessor’s office nonholiday weekdays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).