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Keep senior exemption in place

Posted: December 20, 2013 - 11:13am

I have sent the following letter to Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and all assembly members. I have received no acknowledgement, no reply. Why are they hiding?

My name is Peter Zuyus Sr. I am 68 years old and live on the Kenai Peninsula in the Homer area. My wife and I are seniors directly affected by Ordinance 2013-36 that has been brought to the assembly for consideration.

We moved to the KPB after traveling throughout the state searching for the best place to retire. In addition to the beauty of the KPB, the borough touted the unlimited senior real estate exemption, which helped solidify our decision to retire here. We moved to the area several years before reaching 65 and spent a substantial sum on our home and improvements under the false premise that the KPB had made a commitment to its seniors for the unlimited exemption, only to find that after turning 65 that promise to seniors was taken away.

In 2007, the exemption was reduced from unlimited to $320,000; was voted to increase to $350,000 in 2013; and now, some members of the assembly want to reduce that amount to $300,000.

A biased and dubious example of the exemption is being used as reason to lower the exemption value. However, nowhere in the 2007 ordinance, does that example wording appear. It is not part of the ordinance, so why even give it any consideration? There is no reason. 

Ordinance 2013-36 is an ordinance built upon a false premise.

There are several items we ask that you consider when voting.

1. The residential exemption has no mention of surrendering the residential exemption upon turning 65 years old. It specifically states the exemption is in effect “while owned and occupied by the owner.”

2. The senior exemption has no mention of surrendering the residential exemption upon turning 65 years old.

The two exemptions are exclusive of each other and should be value added together for a total of a $350,000 exemption available for qualified seniors.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Jan. 7 assembly meeting. Our family is sitting in hospice with our 6-year-old granddaughter, Scarlett Olivia Zuyus, who has a rare and terminal form of brain cancer. She fought a year-long battle, but has been sent home from St. Jude’s Medical Center to spend her last days with family and we are with her and them at this time. 

I ask that my Assembly District 8 representative, Mr. Bill Smith read this letter into the assembly record at the Jan. 7 meeting, prior to any vote, so that my objection to Ordinance 2013-36 is on record with the borough.

I respectfully submit that the assembly vote “no” on Ordinance 2013-36.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Peter T. Zuyus 

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