West U Council to consider raising senior tax exemption

At Monday’s regularly schedule meeting, the West University City Council will consider raising the city’s senior tax exemption based on the recommendation of the city’s Senior Services Board.

According to the Harris County Appraisal District, the percentage of homes using the over-65 exemption in West U has jumped from 18 percent to 23 over the last 20 years. The Senior Services Board wants assistance for those senior residents. It’s recommending that council increase the senior tax exemption by $58,000, which would raise it to $243,000.

Before council makes its decision, the Senior Services Board will give council a presentation on the reasons behind their recommendation. The main focus of which will be the city’s property tax reduction as it applies to the senior tax exemption.

West U first institute the senior tax reduction in 1990 in order to help fixed-income seniors remain in their home amid the rising property taxes. The West U Council enacted adjustments to the reduction in 1993, 2003, and 2008 eventually bringing the value of the senior reduction up to 25 percent of average taxable value.

According to the Senior Services Board, the current reduction represents only 19 percent average taxable value. Increasing the exemption by $58,000 will restored the reduction to 25 percent of average taxable value.

Aside from increasing the senior tax reduction, the Senior Services Board wants the council to review the exemption every five years to insure the city’s historical level of 25 percent of average taxable value.

In other agenda items, the council will consider appropriating an additional $64,000 from the Water & Sewer Capital Reserve Fund for work related to the Milton Street Ground Storage Tank Rehabilitation. If the funds are approved, the project budget would be increasing from $750,000 to $814,000.

The request comes after a leak coming from under the floor of the 1.5 million gallon ground storage tank was discovered when refilling the tank. If approved, the new funds will go towards installing a six-inch concrete floor in the tank with a new drain.

According to city documents, the new floor will create a solid surface across the 80-year-old steel floor and will last until the tank needs to be replaced.

The meeting is slated to start at 6:30 p.m.