Thursday, September 11, 2008

Milford's Vanishing Elderly

The 2000 U.S Census showed Milford as having 7,796 persons 65 years and older living in Milford however that number has been in a bit of a decline. Recently I learned from the 2008 Connecticut Economic Resource Center Data sheet that the numbers reported for the 65 and older crowd were off. down to 7,622. On the surface this does not look like a dramatic difference, but when its put in a percentage to the rest of the population the number of "65 and overs" shrunk amid a steadily growing population.

Milford's population in 2000 was 52,305 with 7,796 people over age 65. In 2007 that number changed to 53,874 with 7,622 "65 and overs". While I recognize that these numbers do no show a concrete trend, I must point out that we appear to be developing inverse growth here in Milford. Most concerning is that this trend is occurring during a period that is supposed to show "Baby boomer" growth. Milford is not only unaffected by the "Baby Boomer" trend, but rather seems to be dodging it altogether. These numbers must be watched more carefully into 2008 and 2009, as Milford continues to raise its property taxes, energy costs continue to remain high and relief of any kind remains unavailable to Milford's poorest.

Milford is now growing the town with new young blood and is trending toward phasing out the elderly. While I hope this pattern is nothing more than a false alarm I must admit that more needs to be done to ensure the domestic day to day affordability of Milford's finest the 65 and older crowd to remain here in town.

One idea I had to alleviate this problem is to freeze their property taxes until such time as their property is transferred or sold. I believe it is unconscionable to increase the property tax on a senior who is unable or not well enough to vacate their home. I believe the fair thing to do is to defer their property tax increases until such time they vacate or transfer their property.

Seniors are an important part of all communities, they contribute to our tax base and demand little in return from the city as they often have no children in schools. Our town needs to enact proper zoning and planning laws to include seniors as protected and vital to a harmonious tax system capable of sustaining a balanced tax base. No town can tax its way out of economic trouble, but it can foster and encourage zoning and planning laws that balance tax revenues as derived from young homeowners, business, and seniors. I believe that this is the key to taxes and our quality of life, having a harmonious tax base that affordibly, and collectively contributes to fund city services.

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