Rotterdam mulls exemption to help the elderly

The Rotterdam Town Board is considering a tax exemption for residents who have parents or grandparents living with them in a registered in-law apartment.

Rotterdam resident Mike Viscusi pitched the exemption to board members several weeks ago.

I wanted to do something for the elderly in Rotterdam, said Viscusi. "It will help some of our residents who take care of elderly parents or grandparents over the age of 62, so hopefully it would save them a little more money and ease their budgets a little bit."

The proposed exemption would prevent any increase in assessed value of a property that has an in-law addition being used by an elderly family member.

Viscusi doesn't qualify for the tax exemption himself, but he said he was inspired by a neighbor and friend and the "difficult times we're experiencing" economically to come up with the proposal.

He said he knew there were some other municipalities that offered this exemption, so he looked into it.

The proposal has been met with general approval.

According to Town Attorney Gerard Parisi, the only drawback is not everyone with elderly parents at home is eligible for the exemption, but, he said, the positive benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

"He [Viscusi] felt that there should be some encouragement to care for elderly parents at home, as that's what a majority of elderly individuals prefer," said Parisi in an e-mail. "Caring for the elderly at home can be quite burdensome personally, mentally and fiscally. For the people who are taking care of elderly parents or grandparents, mentally it takes away from the ability to work or do work or earn a living."

Viscusi said the exemption would help all residents in the long run because the more seniors who are kept out of nursing homes, the less taxpayers have to pay.

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