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How Does Tewksbury's New Senior Citizen Tax Abatement Work?

Senior Citizens will be eligible for a big savings on their property tax bill.

Question: How does the new Senior Volunteer Tax Abatement work and how much money can we save?

Answer: At the recent Annual Town Meeting, Tewksbury voters approved $25,000 for the establishment a fund that will allow senior citizens to save several hundred dollars a year on their property tax bill.

To participate in the program, a Tewksbury Senior Citizen would need volunteer time working for the town.

According to volunteer opportunities will be available in every town department, including the schools. Seniors will have the chance to choose the job they want on as first come, first served basis.

"We’ll send something out the departments and get a list of their needs, job descriptions," said Montuori. "Seniors will be able to choose their job, what fits them."

Senior Citizens would be credited at minimum hourly wage for the time they volunteer and that amount would be credited to their property tax bill. According to Montuori, residents can earn an abatement of up to $750 each year.

There are some limitations. To qualify, a resident must be at least 60 years old. The program begins July 1 and once the $25,000 fund is exhausted, residents will have to wait until next year to participate.

Do you have a question about local governement or the town you would like answered? Email it to williamg@patch.com

 

Guest June 01, 2012 at 12:13 PM
How many hours do they have to put in?
Bill Gilman (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Guest, they will be credited at minimum wage, which I believe is presently $7.25 per hour. So to reach the maximum abatement of $750, they would need to volunteer about 104 hours per year.
Christian Panasuk June 01, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Great program -- it has worked very successfully in other communities.
Dan June 01, 2012 at 04:09 PM
How many people in Tewksbury over 60??? Are relatives of public employees going to be picked????How do you get inline for the program??? Who do you call to get on the list???
bk June 01, 2012 at 05:15 PM
That might be a conflict of interest (IMHO). Applicants should be made to disclose if they know someone working for the town. --B
Bill Gilman (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 05:59 PM
The final details of the application process are still being worked out. What I can tell you is what was in the story. All of the jobs will be listed with a job description. From there it is first-come first-served.
BJ June 01, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Our town government is very generous. They increased my Dad’s taxes by $421.00 last year. He’s 92 and living on a fixed income. But with a little luck, maybe he’ll be one of 33 seniors allowed to mop the halls of the new high school and earn a $750 deduction. Hopefully his wheelchair won’t be a deterrent.
Jim Wentworth June 01, 2012 at 07:07 PM
BJ, I certainly understand your frustration with the taxes for your Dad. I know that our Town Manager, Mr. Montouri, and his team are looking at ways to ease the tax burden on all of the residents, especially our seniors. I’m not sure that the plan was to have your father “mop the floors” but I do think that he could provide so much value if he spent time talking with high school seniors about his life experiences. There isn’t a price tag that the town could put on that kind of coaching and feedback. I’m sure the School Committee would be open to that as well.
Bill Gilman (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Absolutely Jim ... I've seen these programs work terrifically well in other towns. Also BJ, put in a call to the Tax Collector and make sure that your dad is taking advantage of every credit and abatement he is eligible for. You might be surprised how much can be knocked off that property tax bill.
Kristin M June 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Minimum wage ??!!! Are you kidding ??? What an INSULT to people who have worked most of their life ! I read there is only a certain amount of money...once it runs out people have to re apply the next year. Well I hope they put in some sort of list so the same person doesnt get chosen 2 years in a row. Minimum wage...INSULTING . ( I am not a senior in case any are wondering )
Bob Rauseo June 01, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Hello: Some people try to move things ahead - thank you Jim W., Sean C., Jerry S. et al. Some people sit back, do nothing, and complain, complain, complain - to you I say- If you think things can be better start working to make it so. And by the way - I am 60 tears old and have more than 25 years experience working with at-risk kids. I would be willing to work at minimum wage to help out and to reduce my tax bill. Should I be disqualified because I am related to a town official? Bob Rauseo
Chris Kelly June 01, 2012 at 10:47 PM
BJ, you actually bring up a good point that has legal ramifications. If all the jobs require physical labor, people with disabilities would be excluded from being able to receive the tax credit. I am unsure how the Americans with Disabiliities Act would apply to this program but I would think the town would have to make reasonable accommodations.
Dan June 02, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I'm willing to work on the Whipple road bridge for minimum wage. How about everyone over 60 in town gets paid to work on it. I'm sure it would get done Faster and cost Less than what the decision makers in typical Massachusetts fashion have done over 2 1/2 years!!!! Still Nothing happening on it, and isn't it supposed to be done by November???

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