Veterans eligible for tax abatement program
By ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA | The Daily News of Newburyport (Mass.) | Published: January 15, 2014
SALISBURY, Mass. — Qualified veterans may soon be able gain a $500 abatement on their property tax by volunteering to work for the town.
Town Meeting in October accepted the state ordinance that allows the Veterans Tax Work-Off program, and the Board of Selectmen approved the guidelines for the program at Monday night’s meeting. The veterans program is similar to one that’s existed for years for qualified senior citizens, according to chief assessor Cheryl Gorniewicz, who oversees the program with Council on Aging director Liz Pettis.
The programs have some similar aspects in that they allow senior citizens and veterans who own their homes and live in Salisbury as their primary residence to work temporarily for town departments, earning the equivalent of $500 over about 62 hours for the state minimum wage of $8 an hour. The hours must be completed between Jan. 2 and Oct. 31 each year and the earnings deducted from tax bills.
Both offer a maximum of $5,000 a year in abatements for each program, permitting 20 senior citizens and 20 veterans to take part annually.
The senior citizens program has been very successful, Gorniewicz said. Since its full implementation in 2010, the town has had the benefit of the skills of 20 Salisbury senior citizens each year who have helped with any number of jobs throughout the town.
The veterans program will not have an age requirement as does that for local senior citizens, she said, meaning young veterans returning to civilian life after military service can qualify if they meet income limits. Allowing a younger workforce would open up some jobs in town that aren’t amenable for senior citizens, Gorniewicz said.
Applications for the program are available at the Council on Aging, located at the Hilton Center, at 43 Lafayette Road and are currently being accepted.
“We already have five applicants,” Gorniewicz said. “I’m very excited.”