Creates “Municipal Volunteer Property Tax Reduction Act
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill to help to ease the property tax burden for seniors and increase opportunities for volunteerism within the community received final approval today by both houses of the Legislature. The measure is part of a legislative packaged aimed at improving affordability and livability within the community for aging adults. The bills stem from a series of meetings the senator held with seniors in her legislative district.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure our residents are able to age in place and remain in the communities that they know and love,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “To do that, we have to make sure that our communities are affordable for seniors and offer an environment that allows them to live healthy and active lifestyles. This bill creates an innovative program that will improve opportunities for seniors to volunteer but also for towns and cities to utilize their residents’ expertise in areas that will benefit the municipality. At the same time, it will provide tax relief to seniors, many of whom are on a fixed income, to make it easier for them to continue to live in the community as they age.”
Research has shown that older adults prefer to stay in their home and communities as they age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Age-friendly housing, transportation, social and employment opportunities are vital to promoting and supporting the well-being of aging residents, the agency reports.
The bill (S2524) would allow municipalities to create a program permitting residents age 60 or older to perform volunteer services for the municipality in which they live in return for property tax vouchers. The “Municipal Volunteer Property Tax Reduction Act” is modeled after a program in Lenox, Mass., and would allow seniors to receive vouchers for up to $1,000 of their property tax burden in the year the volunteer work is conducted.
Two other bills sponsored by Senator Gill would (S2523) permit towns, cities and parking authorities to create a parking program to offer reduced cost and designated parking to seniors, and (S2521) create the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Council. S2523 has been approved by both houses of the Legislature; S2521 has been approved by the Senate.
“This bill package was designed with the input of the Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee and is designed to create programs that will improve the ability of seniors to ‘age in place,’” said Senator Gill. “With the help of the advisory committee, we’ve made progress in advancing these initiatives. I want to thank the members for their work, and look forward to continuing the effort to see the bills through to fruition.”
S2524 was approved in the Assembly today by a vote of 70-0, and in the Senate by a vote of 35-0.