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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Ocala resident discusses Amendment 11, property tax breaks for local senior citizens

To the Editor:

The growth in Marion County, both business and residential, has been exponential since back in 2012 when county voters passed Amendment 11 by over 60%. But the Board of County Commissioners denied the property tax break (offered only to low income, 65-plus year olds who lived in their home 25-plus years, valued under $250,000). If these longtime, deep-rooted seniors find themselves unable to pay their property tax (due to loss of spouse, medical emergency, home or car repairs, etc.), they can be evicted with no compensation from their most valuable and necessary asset: their home.

A $249,000 home can be taken because of a $20,000 debt? The government can’t take your home in a bankruptcy, but for this, Marion County can? The Board of County Commissioners worried back in 2012 that the exemption offered to this small category of needful aged citizens (offered unanimously by the 2012 Florida legislature in a 156-0 vote) would drain too much tax money from their purse. Yes, maybe, but now we have Chewy, Amazon, FedEx, etc., and residential growth everywhere.

Federal money poured in for pandemic help. I think Amendment 11 was forgotten about, but please consider joining me on February 1, 2022 at 9:15 a.m. at the Board of County Commissioners meeting to voice your opinion on this dire matter. These old timers are the backbone of this county, supporting businesses, restaurants, etc. for the past 25 years. Most retired with no pension, just social security they paid into all their life. They deserve this break that the legislatures so clearly saw a need for. How a society treats their elders reflects their values.

Joy Rumans
Ocala resident

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