On January 2, the Gorham Town Council voted 5 to 2 to adopt the Property Tax Assistance Ordinance, which will establish a program to provide property tax assistance to persons 65 years of age and over who reside in the Town of Gorham. Under this program, which goes into effect this year, the Town of Gorham will provide refund payments of up to $500 to those individuals who maintain a homestead in the Town of Gorham and meet the criteria established in the ordinance.
Applicants with income less than 90% of the current US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) median family income of $68,000 in 2017 will be eligible for this program. The maximum benefit will be $500 and the minimum benefit will be $200.
Applications, which will be available in the Town Clerk’s office, will be due no later than August 1 of the year for which the refund is requested, and will be required for every year the applicant seeks to participate in the program. Applicants shall also submit proof of property taxes paid or rent constituting property taxes paid during the tax year on the individual’s homestead in the Town of Gorham.
The Town Clerk’s decision on eligibility to participate and benefit base amount in the program are final. Appeals to the Town Clerk’s determinations are to be submitted in writing to the Town Council within 14 days of the Town Clerk’s or the designee’s determinations. The Town Council will then review and make a determination within 30 days of receipt of an appeal.
A person who qualifies for payment under this program shall be mailed a check for the amount of the benefit he/she is eligible for no later than 30 days from the date of Council approval of the application for the year in which participation is sought.
It is unknown at this time how many residents will apply and/or be eligible for benefits under this new ordinance. The first two years will be used as a benchmark to help establish the amount of funds to be budgeted from the Town’s general fund to pay for these benefits.