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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heads butt over senior tax relief

By James Tinley
Register Staff
— Republican Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. and aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, want to bring a senior tax relief plan to the city, but the two are at odds over the best way to create that plan.
Blake announced his appointment of a five-member ad hoc committee to tackle the issue of senior tax relief at Monday’s aldermanic meeting.
Richetelli pledged his full cooperation Tuesday, but said he is reserving judgment on the committee, and added he has reservations about Blake’s choice to form the committee.
Richetelli, who has already presented an expansion to an existing senior tax relief plan, would have rather seen the Ordinance Committee study the issue, because any ordinance has to be approved there first before making it to the Board of Aldermen.
“It appears to me that the ad hoc committee is setting up a middleman,” Richetelli said. “It bogs down the process.” Blake said he acted only after Richetelli failed to set up a committee and established his own with the charge of looking at different communities’ plans to find the best fit for Milford.
“It’s in the city’s best interest to look at a wide range of proposals, not just what the mayor put forth,” Blake said. It’s important to cast a wide net.”
A proposal to have the Ordinance Committee study a senior tax relief plan came from the mayor’s office in January, Richetelli said. This is months after he first brought up the issue, Blake said.
“I would have preferred the committee been appointed earlier,” Blake said. “I think it’s been prejudiced a little bit because for the last four or five months they could have been able to do their study.”
Richetelli, who announced a plan to expand senior tax relief in September, said he didn’t want to politicize the issue by conducting the study during the months before the election. “I don’t think good government policy comes out two months before an election,” he said.
The committee is composed of the former aldermanic Chairman George Amato; Richetelli’s Democratic mayoral challenger Kerri Rowland; Gerald Dowd and Mary Ann Griffin, who were both involved in senior advocacy in the city, and Michal Zabinski, a Fairfield University professor, Blake said. Amato has been appointed chairman.
Richetelli’s plan broadens the income guidelines, which will allow more people qualify. The number of people who will qualify is unknown, making it impossible to determine to the cost of the program, Richetelli said. He proposed a census be taken to nail down the figures. With a great deal of work to be done before a plan is established Richetelli said, “It’s up to committee to decide,” if a plan will be in place for this year.
James Tinley can be reached at or 876-3030.



Anonymous The Scarlet Pimpernel said...

Does this committee of Blake's have Dems. and Repubs. or is it all D's as it appears. Also, is there anyone who represents familes on this committee? After all the cost of fuel, food and power are up and this affects families as well. Where is our relief? I am not so big on this sr. relief plan without the input of families.

February 7, 2008 at 8:19 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the tax cut is for senior citizens only. what would be the purpose of input from famlies?

February 7, 2008 at 10:33 AM 
Anonymous The Scarlet Pimpernel said...

Because they will have to shouldedr the burden of what Seniors do not pay. Someone has th make up the difference. I suppport a tax freeze, but suggest that a separate accrual be accounted for the futture increase sto be paid by the estate upon the death or sale of the home. Why should their children benefit in the end at my families expense.

February 10, 2008 at 11:01 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would agree with you there. THere are a lot of families in Milford who make less than the highest income that would qualify seniors for tax relief .. I think I read $55,000 annual income and a senior would still get a tax break.

February 11, 2008 at 8:00 AM 
Anonymous The Scarlet Pimpernal said...

Weare indeed in difficult time and I feel for seniors,as my Mom is one who lives in town. But families face 50% power increase, 30% water increase, gasoline is up and now with all this ethanol from corn,food is going up 15% and meats up 30% all due to grain stocks increasing. I am in the food business and soybean oil (which is the cheapest)has gone from $0.27 to $0.40 per lb. a bushel of grain (to make flour) went from $4.00 to over $15.00. These are real cost that affect everyone. In the case of families they probably have little ones to feed and cloth,not to mention worry where the money will come from for well child visits to the doctor and for that matter College. Seniors have medicare, Soc. Sec., but familes have no safety net and to have to pay the extra taxes due to a tax freeze is just sad. The city at soime point should have the right to collect what the city is due. I just hope these folks in coty hall have their heads screwed on straight.

February 16, 2008 at 8:11 AM 

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