The Center for State and Local Finance has released a report evaluating the impact of property tax exemptions on the tax digest of the City Schools of Decatur. The study is authored by CSLF senior research associate Peter Bluestone and CSLF data scientist Nicholas Warner.
The study focuses on the 2016 senior homestead exemption, which exempts all residents age 65 and over from school property tax liabilities. The primary intent of this exemption was to improve the balance between school enrollment and tax digest growth.
In Decatur, there was a concern that seniors were selling smaller single-family homes to builders and investors who then replaced them with larger new homes, appealing to families with school age children. Providing tax relief to allow low income seniors to age in place was a means by which City Schools of Decatur hoped to slow enrollment growth.
This study evaluates the impact of the senior homestead exemption on City Schools of Decatur revenues, school enrollment, senior population levels and tax digest growth. Based on the study findings, CSLF recommends exemption adjustments that meet the goals of the City Schools of Decatur.
Map of the City of Decatur and Control Zone Sales