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Council approves rebates for seniors and veterans


April 12, 2013
By Carley Dangona

carley@thereminder.com

WEST SPRINGFIELD — At its last meeting, the Town Council approved the Senior Rebate and Veteran Exchange Rebate ordinances, adding clarifying language to define the eligibility requirements.

A disclaimer was added to remind participants to verify whether the abatement would lessen the amount of assistance, they receive, if any.

Town Council President Kathy Bourque said that the senior abatement was initially created by the last Town Meeting in 2000, but was never converted into an ordinance.

Residents age 65 and older are eligible for the senior rebate if their assets do not exceed $40,000 and their gross annual income is not more than $30,000. The Council limited the rebate to 40 residents each year.

Veterans are eligible for up to a $1,000 reduction in their property tax bill each tax year. This rebate can be obtained in addition to other exemptions and reimbursements veterans may entitled to.

Both seniors and veterans will be credited at the rate equivalent to that of the current minimum wage of the Commonwealth at the time of service. Services must be performed prior to receipt of the abatement.

The Council added a disclaimer to both ordinances. It stated, "Please be aware that participation in this program may affect your eligibility or rights under other town, state, federal or local programs. You may wish to contact the West Council on Aging or other appropriate representative for further clarification."

District 2 Councilor Lida Powell said, "I specifically asked for this. I want the disclaimer in the ordinance because some residents don't realize that such abatements are considered income by agencies. I don't want to reduce the benefits they receive."

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