H ampton officials will consider offering a tax exemption to Gold Star parents.
The board will seek input from local residents on the exemption during its next board meeting. The tax break would be extended to parents of service men and women who were killed in the line of duty.
Supervisor Dave O’Brien broached the topic during last week’s board meeting. He said Washington County recently approved the exemption and asked fellow councilmen if they felt the town should do the same. The Town of Kingsbury has already approved a similar exemption and Hartford officials are considering doing the same.
The exemption would save Gold Star parents, who own a home assessed for $150,000, approximately $233 on their tax bill. But there likely isn’t a resident in Hampton who would be eligible for the exemption, at least at this time. O’Brien said, to his knowledge, there are only two Gold Star parents in all of Washington County.
The board also discussed exemptions for senior citizens, veterans and low income earners/disabled property owners, but those failed to garner much support. Although the town already has in place exemptions for those groups, they haven’t been adjusted since 2008.
O’Brien, who is a veteran and voted in favor of similar exemptions at the county level, said he would love to help but was concerned about shifting the tax burden, especially in a community with an aging population, a segment of which is on a fixed income.
Councilpersons Tamme Taran and Dave Jensen expressed a similar sentiment.
“I think we’re just shifting the burden to other people and after awhile they end up carrying a lot of burdens,” Taran said.
The town plans to take a harder line with residents who fail to renew their dog registrations.
Rebecca Jones, town clerk, said some residents were failing to renew the registration for their dogs despite repeated correspondence from the town. She said getting people to renew the registrations is an annual problem.
Board members suggested that renewal notices continue to be sent. If a dog owner fails to respond, second letter would be sent but would notify the owner that if they failed to comply with a given time the matter would be turned over to the dog control officer and tickets would be issued. Fines for a first time offender would be $25 and would double with each subsequent offense.
O’Brien also mentioned the idea of enumeration.
“I know it’s not popular a thing to do but there is an issue with rabies and there is an issue with out of control dogs,” O’Brien said, adding that a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy was recently bitten by a dog in Hampton.
Officials didn’t reach a decision on enumeration but are expected to revisit the idea at a future meeting.