Mayor Robert Palmieri today announced two legislative proposals to help Utica seniors.
Due to an Executive Order from Governor Kathy Hochul, local municipalities have been
granted the authority to automatically renew property tax exemptions for elderly and
disabled residents who qualify for applicable exemptions. Rather than burdening our
most vulnerable residents at the peak of a pandemic to renew their exemptions, the
Mayor is proposing a resolution for the Common Council’s consideration that would
allow for automatic renewal, as set forth by the Governor’s Executive Order. This
resolution was vetted and supported by Corporation Counsel and City Assessor’s office.
In addition, the City of Utica has a property tax exemption for seniors (residents over 65)
with an income of less than $15,000. This exemption allows eligible seniors to pay half
of their property taxes, a measure that was put in place to ensure low-income seniors can
afford to stay in their homes. Currently, 295 Utica seniors are enrolled in this program,
however, with a projected 5.9% increase in Social Security benefits, many seniors will
likely be put over the 15,000 income limit and would see their property taxes double.
It is the Administration’s position that a slight increase in social security should not
double the property taxes for a vulnerable, low-income senior. To address this issue, the
Administration is proposing legislation that encompasses a two-step solution. The first
step is to increase the income limit for the exemption from $15,000 to $18,500. The
second step is to implement a sliding scale which would gradually decrease the
exemption as the income level increases.
Under the Mayor’s proposal, any senior with an income under $18,500 would retain a
50% exemption from their property taxes. As a senior’s income increases, they would
pay a gradual increase in property taxes (up to $26,900) versus the current situation in
which all seniors with an income over $15,000 will have to pay the full tax amount. The
Administration’s proposal is consistent with the policy of Oneida County and other local
Mayor Palmieri stated, “As a community and society, we have an obligation to do
everything we can to protect our most vulnerable residents. It is not right or fair that a
slight increase in social security benefits would put a low-income senior in a worse
financial position. This proposal helps low-income seniors remain in their homes. I look
forward to working with the Common Council to protect those who need it most.”
The Mayor continued, “I commend City Assessor Rich Max