Beginning the next fiscal year, two demographics in Graham will receive a slight break from the GRMC taxing district’s rate of 36.5 cents.

On Thursday, March 27, the GRMC hospital board passed a motion to exempt taxpayers 65 and older, as well as disabled homeowners, from $10,000 of their homestead value from the ad valorem hospital district tax. This basically means that people qualifying for this exemption who own homes worth $100,000, for example, will be taxed for $90,000 of that value.

This will take effect beginning the next tax year starting in September. Speaking on behalf of the opposition coalition Young County Citizens for Responsible Taxation, board chairman Carl Buschmann said that the 10 percent discount for seniors and the disabled will not affect his PAC’s message: Repeal the tax no matter what.

“We don’t like it,” Buschmann said. “That was nothing more than smoke and mirrors trying to get senior citizens to take 10 percent off their property taxes. That doesn’t help senior citizens, nor does it help anyone else. In fact, what it does is it makes it worse for the hospital because it makes people angrier. Senior citizens should have had a 100 percent discount on this.”

Current interim CEO of GRMC Scott Landrum said that the discount voted on and approved at last Thursday’s meeting was not based on any actions taken by the YCCRT.

“It’s the same thing the school district does,” Landrum said. “We’re not trying to buy anyone off. We’re just trying to be appropriate and do what the school board does. This was just standard operating procedure.”

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.