DeSoto City Council Debates Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption Amounts
In the DeSoto City Council Workshop held Tuesday evening, Tracy Cormier presented information on the city Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption for DeSoto. It became a subject for discussion in that a decision on whether to change the amount of the exemption would need to be made by the first meeting this coming March.
In order to qualify under the current program one must:
- You must be 65 years of age or older
- You must own and reside in home Jan 1 and not have an exemption on any other property.
- If you temporarily move and do not establish another principal residence if you plan to return within two years
- If qualified a surviving spouse may receive extension of the 65 and over exemption.
DeSoto Homestead Senior Exemption Is Currently $30K
Currently 4,160 homes in DeSoto qualify for the exemption under the existing program. The amount of the current exemption is $30,000. This saves qualifying residents $210.45. If the city chooses to approve a change, they would need to do so on or prior to the meeting of March 2 this year for it to be effective for the tax year 2021.
Councilperson Raphiel, Mayor Pro-Tem Moore and councilperson Patrick all pointed out given the current economic outlook due to COVID-19 there needs to be thought given to the long term effect of any change. While the city is currently on sound financial footing, council needs to be prudent to insure that they stay on such firm ground. “There is no way to pull this back, once in place,” Patrick stated.
Now or Later?
“We all want to do this,” Mayor Pro-Tem Moore added. “However we want to do it in a smart way … I would hope that we would continue to have this discussion.” City Manager Wright said it would be prudent as March approaches to continue to look at the situation and examine whether it should be looked at for fiscal year 2022 or 2023 as well as looking at a phased approach. He said city staff would begin to look into all alternatives and more decisions could be looked into during budget season.
All Best Southwest cities have the senior exemption of $30,000 with the exception of Glenn Heights, which has a $25,000 exemption. Councilmember Byrd asked about non-Best Southwest cities in the area such as Midlothian and Ovilla and whether they offer more of an exemption to attract more empty nesters who might be looking for such exemptions.
The council’s work session concluded with everyone agreeing they need more information before making a decision regarding future senior homestead exemptions.
According to their website, the Midlothian senior exemption currently stands with senior citizens being entitled to a $70,000 exemption on their appraisals. This applies to residents 65 or older. Residents currently 65 or older would retain the tax exemption and benefit from the cap, while residents younger than 65 before July 1 would only get the cap.