by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”The Elburn Village Board eliminated municipal utility tax rebates for seniors, less than two months ago. Since then, some residents have asked that the program be reinstated, village officials said.
In response, the Elburn Finance Committee recommended Monday that the board restore the rebate program, with some changes.
The committee recommended reinstating the program only for seniors age 65 and older with annual household incomes of no more than $55,000.
â€œWe want to help the people who really need it,â€ committee member and trustee Bill Grabarek said.
The committee also recommended allowing the rebates only for gas and electric bill taxes, not for telephone service.
Village President Dave Anderson, who attended the meeting, agreed with making the changes before restoring the program, saying the rebates should apply only to necessary services.
â€œYou need heat, you need light,â€ Anderson said.
Village officials said the reason for the changes is that some individuals abused the program in the past by requesting refunds for several different phones, and that people who could afford the utility taxes obtained rebates.
Finance Committee members, who voted unanimously Monday to recommend the boardâ€™s reinstatement of the senior utility tax rebate program, were trustees Patricia Romke, Jeff Walter and Bill Grabarek, as well as Village Treasurer Mike Greenen.
On Sept. 21, trustees Patricia Romke, Bill Grabarek, Ken Anderson and Jerry Schmidt voted to eliminate the program 4-0. Trustees Gordon Dierschow and Jeff Walter were absent from the board meeting. Village officials at that time said doing away with the program for 2009 could save more than $10,000.
Village staff will estimate what the program will cost after the eligibility changes are made, Village Administrator David Morrison said. Then, the Village Board will decide whether to approve the committee’s recommendations.