WESTBROOK — The inaugural round of the city’s senior property tax relief program was successful with about $22,000 in refunds due to be paid to applicants starting Oct. 1, tax collector Dena Lebeda told the City Council Monday night.

The deadline to apply for a property tax refund of up to $500 was Sept. 1 for residents 70 or older who participate in the Maine Property Tax Fairness Credit program and have lived in the city for at least 10 years. Lebeda said this first round of the program had 54 approved applicants. The refund total of about $22,000 came in well under the $50,000 budgeted.

David Morse was sworn in as the Ward 1 City Councilor Monday night, appointed to serve until the Nov. 5 election. File photo

Lebeda said there were 73 applications. “Two applications were incomplete and 17 were not approved because the applicant didn’t qualify for state property tax credit, which is one of our criteria,” she said. 

Many of the applicants were not aware of the state property tax relief program, so Lebeda also helped them file for that refund as well, she said.

“For any seniors out there, it’s too late for our program this year, but they can contact Maine Revenue Services and get the state credit,” she said.

Lebeda expects even more applicants next year as the word of the program gets out.

“I would get one app from someone and then two to three others from the same street soon after, so as it becomes more popular I think we will come in higher next year,” she said.

“I am happy to see the program running, we have been working on it for some time, though (City Administrator) Jerre Bryant did most of the work,” Mayor Mike Sanphy said at the meeting.

Also on Monday, the council appointed David Morse to the Ward 1 seat to fill in the remainder of Brendan Rielly’s term. Rielly stepped down Aug. 1. Morse, an attorney, is chairman of the Westbrook Democratic Committee.

Morse’s appointment was unanimously approved, and Morse participated in the meeting immediately following his swearing-in. Morse will also be on the Nov. 5 ballot for the Ward 1 council seat.

 

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