Many municipalities have adopted property tax work-off programs as a local option in their ordinances governed by Massachusetts general laws. So there may be a program for senior citizen and military veteran property owners in your city or town. These programs require a property owner to perform a certain number of volunteer hours for their respective municipal government. However, property owners cannot be delinquent on local taxes or fees if they want to participate.
What’s truly unique about these property tax work-off and abatement incentive programs is that they are based on current or past service to our country or community. These programs are not Health & Human Services “welfare” based in which eligibility is determined on assets and income, as well as an individual’s inability to work, to find work, or a choice not to work in today’s economy.
Interested people may apply through their city or town Council on Aging or Veterans’ Services departments. Applicants will be drawn from a pool of qualified candidates in a lottery system. The Veteran Tax Work-Off program is authorized under the Valor Act established in state law. Some municipalities, like Chicopee, adopted the local option portion of the law to provide property tax relief to current Guard and Reserve members who deploy overseas on active duty during a particular tax year.
And now underway in Chicopee is a noble effort by some city councilors to raise the limit from $500 to $1,000 property tax abatement per year for a deploying member of the Guard or Reserve. On the other hand, there are some folks in government and on the Council trying to block the initiative for whatever reason, probably not so noble.
Chicopee’s Valor Act tax abatement program is good for the city in many ways. It enhances the city’s reputation in its consideration and care of resident Uniformed Armed services personnel. It is also good for Chicopee because it encourages military and veterans to live and invest in the community. And it is likely to increase property values and provide for a more viable tax base. Lastly, who wouldn’t want more military member-stakeholders living in their neighborhood, city or town?
If you live in the city of Chicopee or you’re an interested party because veterans’ issues are germane to you, please take a moment to call Mayor Richard Kos at 594-1500 and Council President George Moreau at 536-1015 to further encourage them to do the right thing for their community and our veterans currently serving the nation.
Veterans’ Service Officer, City of Holyoke