CONYERS — The Rockdale Voter Group is spearheading an effort to exempt some of the county’s senior citizens from the maintenance and operations portion of school property taxes.
The group is asking residents to sign an online petition supporting the tax exemption by visiting therockdalevoter.com. The organization is proposing that the exemption would apply to residents 67 years of age or older.
According to The Rockdale Voter Group, increasing property values along with increasing property tax rates are pricing seniors — many of whom are on fixed incomes — out of their homes or forcing them to cut spending on vital medicines, food or other expenses. The group points out that seniors will continue to pay the 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax for education even if the exemption is granted.
In order for a senior citizen exemption to be allowed, a petition with a sufficient number of signatures will be submitted to Rockdale County's legislative delegation for introduction into the General Assembly. An exemption referendum could then be placed on a ballot for Rockdale County voters.
A number of counties in Georgia already offer some type of age-related exemption on school taxes. In addition, Georgia mandates a school property tax exemption for homeowners age 62 or older whose household income is $10,000 or less. Eligible taxpayers receive a $10,000 exemption from the assessed value of their primary residence for property taxes levied by any school district.
Several counties in the state — including DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton and Fulton — offer a 100% exemption for seniors although all but Clayton place an income limit on the exemption.
Editor's note: This article was amended on Sept. 22, 2021 to reflect a change in the process of getting a referendum on the ballot.