By: Jen Russon
Home owners in Tamarac may qualify for an additional $25,000 exemption on their 2018 tax bill after the long-term residency senior exemption was approved by the city of Tamarac.
Instrumental in passing the ordinance were Commissioners Marlon Bolton and Julie Fishman, representatives of Districts 1 and 3.
“I fought for this a long time. Our seniors have lived, worked and built up Tamarac for so many years,” said Commissioner Bolton. “I always felt like it was my generation’s turn to do something for them.”
He added that the long-term residency exemption exists throughout Miami-Dade and Broward, which spurred him into working hard to make Tamarac one of the thirty cities in the county to adopt the exemption.
“I’ve always identified with older people and cared deeply for them. People ask me if fighting for this exemption was a way to get elected, and I tell them no, it was important to me personally. I made it my main goal as commissioner,” said Bolton.
Bolton is the youngest person to hold his current office in the city of Tamarac and at the age of 33, he is making a difference in the lives of residents more than twice his age. It fascinates him that some of the seniors he speaks to remember when Commercial Boulevard was just a dirt road. One senior, a woman named Trudy is one of many constituents that Bolton has gotten to know.
He said that he could not wait to get in touch with Trudy about the exemption finally passing. The two had gone back and forth about her need for it last summer.
Last week he wrote to her, asking if she remembered his 2016 campaign promise to pass an ordinance adopting the long-term residency senior exemption. He said that he recalled how frustrated she was that she could not take advantage of the exemption because their city did not offer it.
“Well, I am happy to say that today my colleagues and I passed the ordinance granting the exemption. I kept this item in front of our city manager all this time, with you in mind,” he wrote, encouraging Trudy to apply again so she could see it on her next tax bill.
Property taxes are divided into three parts: county, city and school board. The additional $25,000 exemption applies only to the city’s portion of the taxes that qualified Tamarac seniors pay. To qualify for the long-term residency exemption, homeowners must be 65 years or older by January 1, 2019 and earn a household income of less than $29,454 and must have lived in the residence at least 25 years, with a just value of less than $250,000 in the initial year of application.
To learn more about the exemption, and see a complete list of cities in Broward offering it, visit the property appraiser site at bcpa.net.
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.