Lamar Dalton

Madison County Tax Commissioner Lamar Dalton talks to county commissioners Jan. 6 about giving citizens a vote on whether to provide some property tax relief for those over 70.

Do citizens over 70 deserve a little break on their property tax bills?

That’s a question that Madison County voters will decide during the May 19 primary elections. Madison County commissioners voted 5-0 Monday to present county voters with a referendum on some tax relief for senior citizens on property taxes. The board will soon ask the Georgia General Assembly to give the go-ahead for the referendum.

If approved in May, the exemption will take effect Jan. 1, 2021. All county property owners over 70 would receive an exemption of $8,000 off the assessed value of the value of their homestead. That does not equal an $8,000 tax break. It means the taxable value of the senior citizen’s property will be reduced by that much.

Tax commissioner Lamar Dalton proposed the measure, saying that giving senior citizens some relief on their taxes is personally meaningful to him. He spoke of seeing seniors really struggling, some getting by on just $400 or $500 a month.

He also said it’s an exemption that all citizens might eventually be able to enjoy.

“Eventually everyone in the county, God willing, will be 70 years old,” he said.

Madison County’s total property value was $692 million in 2019. The exemption would subtract an estimated $400,000 off of the county’s overall property value. Those under 70 would carry the burden of the exemption for the senior citizens.

Commissioner Lee Allen said it is a good move, an effort to provide support to senior citizens in need.

Dalton also said he would help fund the exemption by moving the tax bill deadline up from December to November.

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