Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 48
Aged exemption (income requirement) (local authorization) (public hearing) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:
It is necessary that a public hearing be held before the town board may adopt a resolution changing or increasing the income limitation within the statutorily prescribed limits for persons applying for the exemption authorized by section 467.
Our opinion has been requested as to whether a public hearing must be held before a resolution may be passed by a town board increasing the income limitation to $5,000 for elderly persons otherwise qualified for a partial real property tax exemption pursuant to section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law.
Subdivision 1 of section 467 authorizes any municipality to grant a partial tax exemption on real property owned by certain elderly persons “ . . . provided the governing board of such municipality, after public hearing, adopts a local law, ordinance or resolution providing therefor.”
Subdivision 3(a) of section 467 provides, in part, as follows:
3. No exemption shall be granted
(a) If the income of the owner or the combined income of the owners of the property for the income tax year immediately preceding the date of making application for exemption exceeds the sum of three thousand dollars, or such other sum not less than three thousand dollars nor more than six thousand five hundred dollars as may be provided by the local law, ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to this section. . . .
Therefore, the exemption may be adopted by a town by local law, ordinance or resolution after a public hearing. An increase in the income limitation may only be made by local law, ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to section 467 and subdivision 1 thereof specifically provides that such local law, ordinance or resolution may only be adopted after public hearing.
Subdivision 3(a) was amended in 1970 (L.1970, c.291) affording a granting municipality the option of setting an income limitation at any figure between $3,000 and $5,000, and further amended in 1972 (L.1972, c.771) providing for an optional maximum income of $6,000, and further amended in 1974 (L.1974, c.1004) authorizing a new income maximum of $6,500. The town in question had previously granted the exemption by resolution with a $3,000 income limitation then fixed by section 467. The public hearing held by the town prior to adopting the initial resolution granting the exemption concerned a $3,000 income limitation. Any increase in this limitation could result in an increase in the amount of partially exempt property thereby increasing the burden upon taxable property. Under such circumstances owners of taxable property should be afforded an opportunity to be heard.
Accordingly, it is necessary that a public hearing be held before the town board may adopt a resolution changing or increasing the income limitation within the prescribed limits for persons applying for the exemption authorized by section 467.
December 10, 1974