The city of Prairie Village’s new property tax rebate program, put forward as a way to help households struggling financially during the pandemic along with the city’s rising home values, is set to take effect next year.
But the amount the city is putting towards the program means only a very limited number of households will ultimately be eligible.
During the 2022 budget process, Councilmember Jori Nelson presented a property tax rebate program to the city council’s finance committee.
The city is earmarking $20,000 for the program, which will begin in 2022, which city officials estimate will be enough to provide rebates for up to 23 households, according to city documents.
Each qualifying household will get a roughly $845 rebate to help cover city property taxes.
Nelson said the reason she brought the rebate program forward was because she heard from residents about their financial struggles.
“I have been hearing from the residents how difficult it is for them to pay to stay in their home, to keep up their home and the increasing property tax,” Nelson said. “My goal was to help those that are most in need.”
How the program will work
The city intends to launch the program on Jan. 3, at which point applications for a rebate will be available for pick up at city hall or to download online.
Like other cities with similar programs, Prairie Village will require residents to fall under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “very low income”guidelines.
For a two-person household, this would mean the maximum total household income would be $34,400, according to city documents.
For a four-person household, this would mean an income of $43,000 or less, according to city documents.
Discussion over eligibility based on home appraisal
Mayor Eric Mikkelson asked if the city council committee of the whole wanted to put a limit on applicants based on their home’s appraisal, pointing out that someone living in a $1 million Prairie Village house, for example, could qualify for the program depending on their income.
Councilmember Courtney McFadden pushed back on Mikkelson’s suggestion. She said the city council has “no idea of how to assess somebody’s need,” and the program could help anyone stay afloat this year.
Still, the council committee of the whole ultimately agreed to limit eligibility for the rebates to households that are at or below the city’s median household appraised value, which is about $380,000.
The discussion led Councilmember Chad Herring to suggest — and make a motion to — increase the threshold to about $570,000 (or 1.5% of the median appraised home value), but that motion failed.
The city council committee of the whole approved the item in an 8 to 1 vote, and it will appear on a future city council agenda for final approval.