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Canaan Budget Approved; Tax Relief for Elderly, Disabled Also Passes

Canaan — A $3.2 million operating budget for the town of Canaan easily won approval Tuesday, as did two articles aimed at providing property tax relief to senior citizens and the disabled.

The municipal budget, up nearly 4 percent from last year, passed in ballot voting, 831-319. It includes $122,398 of additional spending, most of it going to buy new equipment. It is expected to have little impact on the local tax rate because the increase will be offset by higher revenue.

However, homeowners may end up bearing a bit more tax burden this year after two articles to provide property tax relief to the needy also passed, both with more than 80 percent support.

The articles were intended to protect the elderly and disabled from rising taxes resulting from a proposed $21.5 million renovation to Mascoma Valley Regional High School, which was also being voted on. Combined, the articles could shift about $80,000 in additional tax burden onto other homeowners.

Article 13, which passed, 975-226, called for exempting the first $85,000 of a home’s assessed value from property tax if it is owned by disabled residents who fall below certain income thresholds and meet other criteria. Article 14 provides a similar exemption for low-income homeowners who are 65 years of age or older. That article passed, 1,002-195.

The change in the disabled exemption adds about 6.5 cents per $1,000 of a home’s value, or $13 on a $200,000 home. The elderly exemption adds about 26 cents, or $52 on a $200,000 house.

All other articles passed, resulting in just under $3.6 million in spending. The amount to be raised by taxes is estimated to increase $20,000, or less than 1 percent.

There were no contested races.

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