Senior citizens, active military personnel and people with disabilities will now be able to get hardship deferrals from city assessments in Saint Paul. The City Council on November 17 approved deferrals for those applicants for the costs associated with street resurfacing and seal coating, removing dead and diseased trees on private property, and the cleanup of property conditions that are not the fault of the owner. Those assessments will become due in full when applicants die (unless their spouses also qualify) or their property is sold or loses its homestead status.
The expanded deferral program was championed by Ward 2 City Council member Rebecca Noecker. After hearing from a constituent looking for help with the cost of tree removal, Noecker was frustrated to learn that the city did not offer more widespread hardship deferrals.
“During the pandemic, when we’ve seen so many people struggling in so many ways, this seems particularly important,” Noecker said. “While we do allow deferrals for some types of work, we don’t for many others.”
It is estimated the program will cost the city about $60,000 annually. State law allows cities to defer assessments if such costs cause financial hardship to seniors, active military personnel or disabled people. State law also allows cities to decide which types of repairs should qualify.
— Jane McClure
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