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SENIORS CAN GET NEW EXEMPTION BEGINNING JAN. 1

The Pinellas County property appraiser will accept applications for an additional property tax exemption for qualified older homeowners from Jan. 1 through March 1.

This year, 17 municipalities plus unincorporated Pinellas offer the additional exemption. To qualify, homeowners must meet all of these requirements:

- At least one property owner is 65 or older as of Jan. 1, 2007.

- The applicant qualifies for or already receives a homestead exemption.

- The total household income is $23,463 or less, plus a cost-of-living adjustment to be determined by the state Department of Revenue in mid January. (Nontaxable Social Security income is not included in that total.)

- The homeowner lives in an area offering the exemption.

First-time applicants should bring proof of their age plus documents that show their total income, such as federal income tax Form 1040 or 1040A for 2006, an SSA 1099 or any 1099 or bank statements. The senior exemption does not automatically renew like the homestead exemption does, but homeowners who received the senior exemption last year can renew by mail this year. A renewal form will be mailed by the end of January. Any of the Pinellas County property appraiser's offices will accept applications 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. weekdays. Special dates and times have been arranged for February at other locations as well as on Saturday at four property appraiser's offices. Call (727) 464-3294 or visit www.pcpao.org/Exemptions.html.

MS group meets Tuesday at hospice

The North Pinellas MS Self-help Group will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hospice of the Suncoast, 2675 Tampa Road, on the corner of Tampa and West Lake roads in Palm Harbor. All are welcome to the free meeting in conference Room 3 of the administrative offices. Come and share your personal recipe for making the most of the holidays while living with multiple sclerosis. Advance registration is not needed. Call Bud Llewellen at (727) 698-4346.

Child ID home kits available by mail

Child photo ID and fingerprint kits help parents or guardians assemble identification information needed to search for a missing child. To order a free kit, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Missing Children Awareness Foundation, 13094 95th St. N, Largo 33773. For information, call 585-5360 or 1-800-741-7233.

Displacement aid offered for Katrina

The Katrina Aid Today Program is available to help those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The program offers referrals, counseling, support, special events and assistance with utilities, food and clothing. Contact Tamera Fontenot at Catholic Charities, (813) 210-4245; or Evelyn Dodd at St. Vincent de Paul Society, (727) 868-8160.

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