SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Senior Tax Work-Off program in Springfield was granted its approval to reduce property tax bills for seniors who volunteer.
Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos told 22News the Massachusetts tax work-off law allows a city or town to establish a program that gives property owners 60 years or older the opportunity to volunteer in the city or town in exchange for a reduction in property tax of up to $1,000.
Ramos said the city or town administers the program by keeping track of hours worked and making sure the hours worked don’t exceed the minimum wage of $12 per hour.
Some volunteer opportunities include painting fire hydrants, answering phones, and stacking books at their local library. Ramos said in return, they receive a record of their work that is also sent to the local assessor in order to reduce the volunteer’s property tax bill.
Under Councilor Ramos’ proposal, applicants will be chosen by lottery.
“With property values continuing to rise, many senior citizens are unable to keep up with their rising tax-bill. This piece of legislation will give them an opportunity reduce their taxes while also providing a valuable service to our city.”Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos
Ramos added, “We’ve found that seniors love the opportunity to be able to work off a portion of their taxes. They found it also a huge benefit to the municipalities that participate in this program.”
Councilor Ramos believes the Mayor will sign the ordinance into law. Ramos says the program will start small, recruiting about twenty seniors in the spring for a variety of city department programs.
The City will begin accepting applications in the Spring and volunteers are expected to begin working in July of 2020.