|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - July 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
City freezes taxes for senior citizens
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Beginning this fall, all property owners who are 65 years old and over will have their city taxes frozen in place, thanks to action last week by the Trinity City Council. The council joined Trinity County and the Trinity Independent School District in freezing taxes for residential property owned by senior citizens. During the relatively short meeting on Thursday, July 8, the council unanimously okayed the freeze. Interim City Manager Buddy Drake told the council that according to Susan McKinley, chief appraiser for the Trinity County Appraisal District, the freeze would cost the city between $1,500 and $2,500 per year in lost property tax income. Councilman Billy Joe Slaughter, who asked the council to consider the freeze, noted the measure will help senior citizens by locking their tax payments in place. Under state law, unless a senior citizen property owner made improvements to his or her home, the dollar amount they would pay would not increase despite future tax rate or property value changes. When contacted after last week’s meeting, McKinley confirmed that for those who are now 65 or older, the tax bill they receive in October from the city would be the amount they would pay from now forward. She noted that city taxpayers who are now 65 or over will automatically have their taxes frozen. Those who are not yet 65 should contact the Trinity County Appraisal District office in either Trinity or Groveton as soon as they reach their 65th birthday to apply for the freeze. Currently, all school districts in Texas have a 65 and over freeze enacted by the state legislature. Trinity County adopted their freeze several years ago. The Trinity Memorial Hospital District also sought to freeze their taxes but learned that state law currently does not allow that. A move to enact a law permitting a hospital district tax freeze failed in the last Texas legislative session. MLK Drive on hold A move to change the name of Lakefield Street to Martin Luther King Drive came within a hair of passing last week, but was put on hold for a month after a Lakefield resident raised an objection. During the meeting, Johnny Parker presented the city with a petition signed by most Lakefield residents and a number of other “concerned citizens” asking that the street be renamed to honor the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. After accepting the petition, a motion to change the name of the street was offered and seconded but both were subsequently withdrawn pending further study after Jean Johnson voiced an objection. Johnson noted she has lived off South Lakefield since 1978 and she opposed the name change. “I realize I’m only one person, but I really don’t want the name of my street changed,” she told the council. She noted that while Parker may be a property owner on Lakefield Street, he does not live there and that most of those who signed the petition also were not residents of the street. It was suggested that the city could rename only North Lakefield but Parker said he and others really wanted to rename the entire street in honor of King. He also noted that while the petition contained the names of non-Lakefield Street residents, the vast majority of those living on the street did sign it. “They all understood that it would mean having to change their 9-1-1 addresses and they were still in favor of it,” Parker said. In agreeing to table the matter for further study, the council agreed to revisit the matter at their Aug. 12 meeting. Other business During the meeting, the council also: • Received a certificate of appreciation from the Department of State Health Services thanking the city for letting the agency use the Trinity Community Center to administer about 1,200 H1N1 flu vaccinations over a 2 1/2 month period earlier this year. • Received a donation of two tree-mounted surveillance cameras from the Trinity County Crime Stoppers Program. The cameras will be used by the Trinity Police Department. • Recognized city employee Charles Parker as being the first city worker to earn a Class “A” waste water license from the state. • Met with City Ordinance Officer Kenneth Newton about the city-wide clean up effort.