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Officials host information sessions on senior property tax break

The St. Joseph County Council recently unanimously approved a property tax cut for homeowners age 55 and older, but they have to apply for it.

The new ordinance caps annual property tax increases at 2 percent.

Starting this evening, county officials are hosting Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ, sessions to explain how to apply for the new tax break. They’ll also help you decide whether you can save more with this new discount, or if you’re even older, 65 or older, one that already exists under state law for people in that age group.

Republican County Council Member Amy Drake sponsored the ordinance, after property taxes rose sharply because market values have risen so dramatically over the past two years.

The tax cut runs out after three years. The council’s financial consultant has estimated it will cost the county about $375,000 a year, or more than a million over the three years.

Democratic County Auditor John Murphy told WVPE the revenue loss should be offset by increased money the county is earning from investments because of higher interest rates.

The tax cut applies to taxes that are payable in 2025, and taxpayers can apply for it anytime in 2024. This week’s two sessions will be tonight at 6 p.m. at the Francis Branch Library on North Ironwood Road, and Friday at 2 p.m. at the County-City Building.

Other information sessions will be Friday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at the County-City Building; and Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the St. Joe County Main Library downtown South Bend.

There will be a public sign-up event Jan. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the library.

Parrott, a longtime public radio fan, comes to WVPE with about 25 years of journalism experience at newspapers in Indiana and Michigan, including 13 years at The South Bend Tribune. He and Kristi live in Granger and have two children currently attending Indiana University in Bloomington. In his free time he enjoys fixing up their home, following his favorite college and professional sports teams, and watching TV (yes that's an acceptable hobby).