Council Considers Penalizing Late Applicants For Senior Citizen Tax Exemptions

Jun 14, 2018

This year, the City of Unalaska estimates that councilors’ approval of five late applications will result in the loss of almost $8,000 in tax revenue.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

After a handful of late filings, the Unalaska City Council may introduce penalties for senior citizens who miss the application deadline for property tax exemptions.

City councilors approved the fifth late application of the year on Tuesday, ruling that medical treatment was an acceptable reason for one Unalaskan to miss the March deadline by almost three months.

But overall, Vice Mayor Dennis Robinson said the council needs to consider changing its lenient approach after granting 10 late applications since 2014.

"Every single year that we've done this, we've had a number of late filings," said Robinson. "I know that some of the late filings have been denied, but we've set a precedent in accepting [some of] them."

Councilors agreed to take a second look at their policy, following a discussion about the time spent making individual rulings and the potential for inconsistency.

They directed City Manager Thomas E. Thomas to consult with the city attorney and research how other communities handle the issue.

Thomas said he'll develop options to present before the council, while Robinson suggested a sliding scale that would reduce tax breaks depending on how late applications are.

Currently, the city provides a tax exemption based on the assessed value of real property owned by Unalaskans aged 65 and older.

This year, the city estimates that the approval of five late applications will result in a loss of almost $8,000 in tax revenue.