Garfield County expanding its senior tax rebate program | AspenTimes.com

Garfield County expanding its senior tax rebate program

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Garfield County has expanded its senior citizens tax rebate program to include residents over age 65 who have lived in the county for 10 years but may not have voted recently.

County commissioners on Monday approved a resolution that will allow senior citizens to make a case for receiving a $163 payment if they can provide proof, other than the county’s voter registration rolls, that they’ve been in the county for 10 years or more.

In May, commissioners OK’d the senior benefit payment for about 2,450 senior citizens who have been on the county’s active voter registration rolls for 10 year or more.

Voter registration was used as the criteria for coming up with a list of names, simply because it was the easiest way to track how long someone had been a resident of the county.

However, commissioners wanted to ensure there was some mechanism for long-term senior residents who may not be on the voter rolls for whatever reason to stake their claim as well.

Under the expanded rules, anyone who believes they are eligible for the senior benefits must provide proof that they:

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• Are a citizen of the United States;

• Have been a resident of Garfield County for 10 or more years; and,

• Were at least 65 years of age as of May 17 of this year, which is when the original senior benefit was authorized.

“The individual must complete an affidavit verifying the forgoing criteria confirming their identity and citizenship through use of a government issued identification card normally acceptable for that purpose,” according to the resolution signed Monday.

Commissioners budgeted another $10,000, in addition to the $400,000 already approved, to pay for any additional claims under the expanded rules.

The county’s senior rebate was viewed as one way to give some relief to area senior citizens, since the state of Colorado was forced to suspend its senior property tax exemption for another two years due to the state’s financial woes.

The 10-year residency requirement is in line with the criteria used by the state in determining who qualifies for the senior property tax exemption.

Garfield County is believed to be the only county in the state to offer the one-time payment at the local level, in lieu of the state tax exemption.

jstroud@postindependent.com