Proposed ordinance: Seniors who volunteer can earn tax credits

Trumbull senior citizens who donate their time could be rewarded with some tax relief from the town if a new ordinance, proposed by First Selectman Tim Herbst, is approved by the Town Council.

Seniors, 65 years or older, who volunteer with the town or an approved 501(c)(3) charity can get a tax break in the amount of $600 or $1,200. The amount of the tax credit will be based on volunteer hours. One-hundred hours earns a $600 credit and 200 hours earns a $1,200 credit.

“I’m very excited about this resolution,” Herbst said last Friday. “I think it will be met with bipartisan support.”

There are a number of potential opportunities, according to Herbst, including handing out park stickers for the recreation department, volunteering at Trumbull Day, working with the historical society or volunteering with an organization like The Kennedy Center.

Herbst said the ordinance will be on the council’s February agenda.

“This will help the town, without additional labor costs, pension costs and health care costs, by encouraging volunteerism and supplementing what would have otherwise been a paid service,” Herbst said.

Other communities like Danbury have a similar ordinance in place.

When asked if the volunteer work could upset unions, Herbst said the Director of Labor Relations Jim Haselkamp has been consulted on the ordinance, and Herbst doesn’t believe the volunteering will conflict with any union work.

“One thing I have learned in the last five years in office is that we have a lot of smart people that live here,” Herbst said.

The first selectman said he wants to encourage those who can to give back to the community, while helping to make government “smaller and smarter.”

Herbst also announced last week nominees for a Community Center Building Committee. The committee will look for locations for a community center that could act as a senior center and a library.The nominees must also be approved by the Town Council. Look for more on that story later this week.