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St. Louis is considering a property tax freeze for senior citizens

Mayor Tishaura Jones watches as Alderwoman Laura Keys, of the 11th Ward, speaks during a round table related to a city-wide senior citizen property tax freeze on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, at Beloved United Community Methodist Church in The Gate neighborhood.
Tristen Rouse
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Mayor Tishaura Jones watches as Alderwoman Laura Keys, of the 11th Ward, speaks during a round table related to a city-wide senior citizen property tax freeze on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, at Beloved United Community Methodist Church in The Gate neighborhood.

The proposal would only apply to the city portion of property taxes and would have limits based on income or total property value. But supporters say every little bit helps.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen may soon consider a measure that would freeze a portion of property tax that some senior citizens pay on their homes.

The measure, sponsored by First Ward Alderwoman Anne Schweitzer, is still in the draft phase but would include keeping seniors paying the amount of city property taxes that they pay in 2023 for as long as they own and live in their home.

“People want to stay in their homes, and that is getting more expensive, even when the home is completely paid for,” Schweitzer said. “This gives us a chance to help protect our seniors from rising costs.”

The proposal would have limits. Schweitzer said that while she and city staff are still working out details, the tax break would max out at levels determined by either the homeowners' income or the total value of the property.

“We realize there are million-dollar homes within the city,” said Mayor Tishaura Jones. “What we don’t want to have happen is for millionaires (to get the break) and then all of a sudden we don’t have the money to pay our bills to provide basic services.”

The proposal would only apply to the city’s portion of the property taxes, which makes up about 20% of a home’s property tax bill.

Taxes for school, library, zoo-museum and junior college districts would not be affected.

Robert Powell has lived in his O’Fallon Park neighborhood home for more than 30 years. He said he does wish the proposal included all of his property taxes but will take what he can get.

“Any assistance that seniors can benefit from, you have to take it where it is one by one and pay the next bill up,” Powell said.

Powell said the city should do something about the costs to seniors that it can control.

Caroline Moore agrees. She said homeowners insurance and maintenance costs go up every year on her home in the Ville neighborhood that she has lived in since 1957.

TKTK participates in a round table with senior citizens to discuss how a senior property tax freeze in the City of St. Louis could impact them on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, at Beloved United Community Methodist Church in The Gate neighborhood.
Tristen Rouse
/
St. Louis Public Radio
TKTK participates in a round table with senior citizens to discuss how a senior property tax freeze in the City of St. Louis could impact them on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, at Beloved United Community Methodist Church in The Gate neighborhood.

“I can’t afford to move anywhere, and I’ve been there all my life,” Moore said.

Moore said even though the tax break is just a proposal, she is committed to pressure aldermen to adopt it.

“I'm going to share this with 10 people. Those 10 are probably going to share it with 10 people. So if we have to do whatever we need to do to make this happen, we're going to do it,” Moore said.
Copyright 2023 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Jonathan Ahl