NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 13, 2012

Councilors to offer bill to bring tax relief to local veterans

Amesbury City Notebook Mac Cerullo
Newburyport Daily News

---- — This weekend we celebrated our veterans and gave thanks for all they do to keep this country safe, and now the Amesbury City Council will discuss a measure that would put those words into action.

Tonight’s meeting will feature a public hearing on a tax relief measure for Amesbury’s veterans. Should the measure be passed, then programs would be set up in town that would allow Amesbury veterans the opportunity to work in exchange for a reduced property tax bill.

The Veterans Tax bill, which is sponsored by Councilors Jim Kelcourse and Bob Lavoie, will address “the statewide issue of reasonably assisting the growing ranks of our veterans” while also giving Amesbury “greater flexibility in creating tax relief” that is right for the community.

Following the public hearing on the Veterans Tax bill, the council will be also presented with several noteworthy items of business.

Following on their successful fundraiser at the Ale House earlier this month, the Park Renovation Committee will be asking the council to accept a donation of $122,586 worth of playground equipment and infrastructure, including play structures for children aged 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, four banks of swings including one handicap-accessible swing, three belt swings, four toddler swings and two tire swings, two basketball hoops and all the necessary site work and landscaping.

The PRC said the equipment itself would be worth $76,486, while the infrastructure work will be worth $46,100.

In addition, the council will also be presented with a Green Energy bill by councilor Christian Scorzoni. If passed, the bill would adopt a “stretch code” designed to help Amesbury achieve 20 percent better energy efficiency in a cost-effective manner in large part by encouraging the use of “Energy Star”-rated appliances.

Adopting the “stretch code” is a prerequisite to receiving Green Community designation from the state, and by achieving that designation, Amesbury would become eligible to compete for roughly $10 million in annual grant funds for energy efficiency and renewable activities.

In other words, Amesbury could stand to see a little more green by going green.

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Speaking of money, the Amesbury Middle School Parent Advisory Group will be holding a Casino Night fundraiser Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Costello Transportation Center.

The fundraiser will feature blackjack, roulette, craps and Texas Hold’em, along with free snacks, beer and wine for purchase and “great prizes.”

Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door and includes $500 in Funny Money that you can gamble away to your heart’s content. For more information, contact Dee Cote at amspag@yahoo.com or 978-388-6541.

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Last week, Our Neighbors’ Table set up shop outside the polling stations at Amesbury High School for a hugely successful Election Day food drive. Over a dozen volunteers braved the cold and collected donations from generous voters, and once the polls closed 13 hours later, the group literally had a truck full of food to show for it.

Our Neighbors’ Table finished the drive with over 50 milk-crates of donated food, along with roughly $1,000 in cash. The drive was a great start to what promises to be a busy month for the food pantry.

On Saturday the group will partner with the Amesbury Police Department for the annual “Fill a Cruiser” food drive. A police cruiser will be parked outside of the Stop & Shop on Route 110 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and residents are encouraged to donate food and pack the cruiser to the ceiling.

WNBP 106.1 will be assisting with the effort this year, and residents are asked to bring cereal, pasta, canned foods, soup, healthy snacks, canned vegetables and peanut butter in particular. Cash and check donations will also be accepted; checks can be made out to Our Neighbors’ Table and a donation box will also be set up in the lobby of the police station.

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The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:

Today

City Council Meeting, 7 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.

Thursday

Board of Assessors Meeting, 5:15 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.

Monday

Conservation Commission, 6:30 p.m., Amesbury Health Center, 24 Morrill Place.

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Staff Writer Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be contacted at 978-462-6666, ext. 3238 or by email at mcerullo@newburyportnews.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.