Senior Summit: Mayor Donchess hosts discussion at Senior Activity Center

Photo by GEORGE PELLETIER Representatives with Southern New Hampshire Services go over information with attendees of Saturday’s Senior Summit, hosted by the city of Nashua. The event drew a large crowd to the Nashua Senior Activity Center.

NASHUA – The city of Nashua and Mayor Jim Donchess hosted a summit on Saturday at the Senior Activity Center, discussing a variety of issues facing local residents.

The Senior Summit focused on resources and services available to seniors in Nashua and offered attendees information ranging from chiropractic care to property tax exemption advice.

The mayor had attended the U.S Conference of Mayors in Boston last summer and said he hoped the Nashua summit would encourage older citizens to come out and take advantage of the free services that are available to them.

“The conference I attended is a very valuable organization, because you get to meet other mayors and you get a lot of ideas about what they’re doing,” Donchess said. “I heard about what they’re doing in Gary, Indiana, and they held a senior summit. And I thought that was a great idea.”

The mayor went on to say that Nashua should be a place where senior citizens live comfortably in a city that they’ve always lived, or a new city with opportunities for transplants.

Photos by GEORGE PELLETIER Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess talks with residents Saturday morning at the Nashua Senior Activity Center. Donchess hosted a Senior Summit to talk about services offered by the city.

Baby Boomers and Millennials are certainly on the mayor’s mind as he examines Nashua’s future.

“We’re trying to be a city for all generations,” he said. “We certainly want the Baby Boomers, of which I am a part, and then the next generation, which is even bigger, the Millennials. They are two groups of people that we want to think about.”

Exhibits at the summit included the Nashua Public Library, the Nashua Transit System, the U.S. Census Bureau, AARP and Southern NH Services.

The mayor’s opening remarks included that of city property taxes.

“One issue that we know is of concern to senior citizens is that of property taxes for those who own their own homes,” Donchess said. “New Hampshire is the most property taxed reliant state in the United States. Two-thirds of tax revenues for state and local government combined come from the property taxes in New Hampshire. For some states, that’s really nominal, like 10 percent or less. So, we know that’s a problem.”

A representative from the city assessing office provided information on the “elderly exception,” which allows people who have an income of $50,000 or less, and assets of $150,000 or less – excluding their home – to get most of their property taxes to be exempted.

“For those people, the level of exception is going up, because we know this revaluation, which was done recently, raised the values of homes in Nashua,” Donchess said. “This was a state required, mandated revaluation that every community has to do every five years.”

City of Nashua’s Kerry Miller, who handles communications and specials projects in the mayor’s office, was pleased that Nashua is now offering this sort of valuable information.

“We really wanted to bring something like this to Nashua,” she said. “We wanted this to be an informational and fun day for our seniors to come and learn about support services in our area, transportation and public health. We want to let them know that we have these great services available to them.”