By Joyce May

Killeen Daily Herald

GATESVILLE – Coryell County voters heading to the polls to decide on contested races for the Nov. 7 general election will also have the opportunity to determine whether a county tax ceiling should be established for seniors.

The Coryell County Commissioners' Court voted to put the item on the ballot to give citizens a choice in the matter, County Judge John Hull said.

"I think the people ought to have a choice on something like that," he said.

Interim tax assessor-collector Justin Carothers said that if the measure passes, the county taxes of a person turning 65 or older could never go higher than they were the year the person hit that age.

He said, for example, if the year a person turns 65 thecounty taxes were $500 on their home, the tax amount owed would never be higher than $500, regardless of the value of the home or the tax rate. If the value of the home went down, the taxes could be lowered, however.

Carothers said there are an estimated 3,000 property owners with over-65 exemptions currently in the county.

School taxes statewide already have a freeze, and a freeze for the City of Gatesville will be enacted next year, Hull said.

Copperas Cove resident Diane Steele, who has requested that the City Council call an election to freeze seniors' taxes in her city, is hoping the measure will pass because she says seniors on fixed incomes need the tax break.

"It is important because so many people over 65 are hurt by these increasing property taxes. I think it is important for everybody to vote for this," Steele said.

"There are so many seniors that are in danger of losing their house because of this."

Contact Joyce May at

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