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District won't expand tax exemptions

Property tax exemptions given to low-income elderly and disabled residents in the Starpoint School District will not be extended to some property owners with school-age children -- at least not for the coming school year.

Having questions about possible abuses and the fairness to other property owners, as well as lacking information to make a comfortable decision, the Starpoint School Board took no action after Monday's public hearing on the proposal.

The lack of action killed the plan, which would have extended exemptions to property owners with annual incomes of less than $24,900 and children living on their property.

The School Board gives property tax exemptions of 50 percent to senior citizens and disabled citizens making $16,500 or less annually, 45 percent to those making between $16,501 and $17,500 and 5 percent less for every additional $500 in income down to a 5 percent exemption for those with incomes of $24,001 to a $24,900.

School Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said he proposed extending the exemption to people such as grandparents caring for grandchil-dren because their sons and daughters may be unable to.

Whelan told the board he proposed the measure because a state official had informed him about a district resident who fell into that category and was struggling financially "with a very low income."

He said the Pendleton assessor's office estimated that the exemption would affect fewer than 10 properties in the district and would have a small impact on district taxes.

"I thought we should help these people out," Whelan said.

Board members, however, had reservations that made them decide not to act on the proposal.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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