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Posted on: September 20, 2017

Finance Committee to Discuss Proposed Senior Tax Equity Program & LED Street Lighting Conversion

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The City Council’s Finance Committee will discuss the Mayor’s proposed senior tax equity program and hear an update on the LED street lighting conversion at its Thursday, September 21, 2017 meeting. The meeting will be held at 5:30 PM in City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of City Hall. A public hearing will be held regarding the Mayor’s proposed senior tax equity program. 

“I look forward to hearing feedback from citizens regarding the senior tax equity proposal, and receiving an update from staff on the status of the streetlight conversion project,” said Councilor Nick Mavodones, Chair of the Finance Committee. 

Proposed Senior Tax Equity Program

Mayor Strimling first unveiled the proposed program back in June. The Portland-Senior Tax Equity Program, or P-STEP, would be available for any household with a Portland resident 62-years or older who receives a benefit under the State Program. Criteria includes a household adjusted gross income of $33,333 to $53,000 depending on the size of the household. Property taxes paid in the refund year must be more than 6% of the household income. Rent must be more than 40%. An individual homeowner or renter can receive up to $900 under the P-STEP. Under the state program, eligible Portland seniors receive an average of $304 ($197 per renter and $324 per homeowner.) This program will match those amounts dollar for dollar. 

It is estimated that P-STEP would cost Portland approximately $250,000 and should it be approved by the Council in next year’s fiscal budget, the City Manager would be tasked with including full funding in next year’s proposed budget for Council consideration. Full details on the program can be found here

LED Street Light Conversion Project

Staff will give an update to the Committee on the LED street lighting conversion project, which is one of the Council’s goals for this year. Staff recently completed a successful pilot installation on Cedar and Casco Streets and has been working with Central Maine Power to purchase the street lights. Following Council approval, the City is prepared to begin implementation of phase one, which includes the replacement of all overhead street lights that are attached to utility poles throughout the city. The conversion offers significant energy and cost savings to the City and will improve the overall quality of lighting and safety along streets. Staff is proposing to finance the conversion over the two phases of the project. 

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