Explore a property tax exemption for lower income seniors.
Many cities and towns in Massachusetts have used the home rule petition process to create property tax exemptions for low income seniors. Unlike current property tax relief available in Melrose, this would provide relief that does not have to be paid back or result in a lien against the property. I will also create an aggressive, sustained plan for communicating all senior and low-income discount information through a single easy-to-access location on the city website, the mayor’s blog, and pamphlets distributed to our senior housing complexes.
Increase the rental tax deduction.
Under Massachusetts law, renters are entitled to a tax deduction for 50% of what they pay in rent. The deduction is capped at $3,000, and that cap has not increased since 2001. I have filed legislation to increase the deduction to $4,000 to reflect the increased cost of housing. I will continue advocating for this increase as mayor.
Establish a program for income-qualified first-time home buyer and rental assistance funded by the Melrose Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Under the city’s affordable housing ordinance, developers can make payments in lieu of adding affordable housing units. We should creatively use these funds to provide down payment assistance, which will help qualified, first-time homeowners seeking to buy in Melrose.
Consider additional zoning tools related to housing production and affordability.
We can continue our smart growth policies and explore changes like accessory dwelling units that create flexible options for expanding affordable housing.