New property tax stabilization program provides financial relief for Maine seniors

Maine seniors can now apply to stabilize or freeze their property taxes instead of a new state tax law that took effect in August.

To be eligible, applicants must be 65 years of age or older, be permanent residents of Maine, have owned their home for at least 10 years, and qualify for the Homestead Exemption.

Maine expects to see applications coming in since 20% of its population is over the age of 65.

For Brunswick resident Rudi Smith, 86, the program couldn’t have come at a better time. After losing his wife and living on a fixed income, Smith said he worries about how he will pay his taxes in the years to come.

Smith has lived in his current residence since 2009.

While he says he is “relieved” that the new tax program exists, he worries about the general cost of living.

“My total income has gone down. I’m worried right now that I can stay where I am with the prices of groceries and everything else going up,” he said.

Brunswick is part of Cumberland County with 19.6% of its population over the age of 65, according to the US Census Bureau.

The average home costing $250,000 in Cumberland County has a tax payment of $3,325, according to the Maine Property Tax Calculator on smartasset.com.

By comparison, Sagadahoc County has an average tax rate of $3,225 and Lincoln County — Maine’s oldest county with 25.8% of its population over the age of 65 — pays an average of $2,725. $ in property taxes.

High-profile organizations like People Plus in Brunswick are working to spread the word using email newsletters that reach more than 2,000 people, said chief executive Stacy Frizzle-Edgerton.

“We got a lot of calls about it,” she said.

The application deadline for the new tax program is December 1.

Smith said he’s already filled out his form and is ready to take it to City Hall.

For more information or an application, visit maine.gov.

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