NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

July 11, 2013

Veterans now eligible for tax program

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY – Since 2007, local seniors have been able to take advantage of a popular program that allows them to take part-time jobs with the city to pay off some of their property taxes, and starting this summer, local veterans of all ages will be able to as well.

The Council on Aging is now accepting applications for the city’s fifth annual Tax Work Off Program, which will now be open to veterans thanks to new legislation passed by the City Council last year.

The program gives local seniors and veterans the opportunity to take a part-time job with the city, with all the earnings going directly to the resident’s end-of-year tax bill. Council on Aging Director Annmary Connor said she believes the veterans program will be a huge success, and she urged residents to send in their applications sooner rather than later, since the senior program has filled up quickly in the past.

“We’re excited to be launching the veterans component,” Connor said. “I think it’s a great addition and we’re happy to be starting it.”

The two programs allow local seniors and veterans of all ages to work up to 93.75 hours for the city between Aug. 1, 2013 and March 30, 2014 and earn up to a $750 credit towards their property tax bill.

This year there are nine total positions, with seven budgeted for the senior program and the remaining two for the veterans. Connor said there will be three positions in the school system – one at Cashman Elementary, one at Amesbury Elementary and one in the special education office – along with ones in the city clerk’s office, the youth recreation department, the library and the senior center.

There will also be two new positions offered this year. One will be offered through the Department of Public Works, where the resident will work at the Lake Attitash boat ramp, and the other will be in the city’s inspection services department.

Residents who apply for, and are not assigned to a position, will still have a chance to work. Connor said she’d put those not selected on a wait list, and if a position opened up in the future, she would go to that list it.

“Let’s say I fill all the slots, and somebody can’t finish it,” Connor said. “I can backfill the slots, so they could go on a wait list.”

In order to be eligible for the program, Amesbury seniors must be over the age of 60 with a gross income at or below $57,450 for individuals or $77,550 for couples. Veterans are eligible if they have a DD214 form and an honorable discharge. Connor emphasized that veterans do not have to be seniors to be eligible.

“You don’t have to be a senior, it’s about being a veteran,” she said.

Selected participants will be placed according to their skill set and the overall level of interest in the program. Connor said that seniors and veterans will not be filling existing positions, but will be providing additional assistance to help augment the current city operations.

To submit an application, residents should stop by the Senior Center at the Costello Transportation Center to pick up a form or download one from the Council on Aging’s website. Anyone with questions should contact Connor at 978-388-8138.