Senior citizen exemption

This chart shows the previous senior citizen tax exemption in the city of Oswego on the left, compared to the new exemption on the right.

OSWEGO — The Oswego Common Council recently voted to expand several tax exemptions for seniors, Cold War veterans, and Gold Star parents who lost sons or daughters in the U.S. armed forces.

The Veterans of the Cold War tax exemption will allow for a 15 percent exemption of the property’s assessed total value, with a $12,000 upper limit.

The Gold Star parents exemption ranges between 15 percent and 25 percent, depending on the time period in which they served and the medals received.

Common Council President Robert Corradino expressed support for the tax relief expansion.

“This initiative to update the income guidelines for our city residents is long overdue, and I was proud to support it,” Corradino said. “It has been over two decades since this exemption was updated and it is the right thing to do immediately for the people who use this program.”

Last adjusted more than 20 years ago, the Senior Citizen Exemption has long since reached an expiration date with income thresholds that no longer apply to many local seniors, said Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, who proposed to update it Monday evening.

Senior citizens already in the exemption will receive an automatic renewal, however, the expansion will include more seniors who need to enroll either in person or by phone at the city assessor’s office on the third floor of city hall.

“Offering financial relief to our seniors living on limited incomes is simply the right thing to do,” Barlow said. “We have worked hard over the three years so that we could offer relief in the form of lower taxes and expanded exemptions to our residents.”

The city’s cap on tax exemptions previously sat at $25,000 for locals 65 and older. Senior residents of the city of Oswego with annual incomes of up to $30,500 are also eligible to receive tax exemptions.

Barlow proposed these measures Monday, citing his administration’s efforts to optimize the city’s revenue sources to provide tax relief to seniors.   

“We’ve significantly reduced overtime expenses city-wide, found efficiencies to cut operating costs, and streamlined government. Now that we are realizing the savings, we can ease the financial burden on our residents and senior citizens with limited incomes.”

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