HOLYOKE, Mass (WGGB) — These days it seems that just when taxes are going up, income is going down. For seniors and veterans young and old, that can be a challenge, especially if they own a home. But cities like Holyoke are helping out.
Joan Grady is retired, but has been working in Mayor Alex Morse’s office doing little things to help his staff with their daily duties. She’s taking part in the Senior Tax Credit Work-Off Program. It allows seniors to volunteer for 93 hours over a year. In return, they get 750 dollar abatement toward their property taxes. Joan says that alone was the biggest plus and adds, “ Plus working in the community, giving back. It was a learning experience to actually see what’s going on in the Mayor’s office, not always politics. They’re very helpful to people who come in with different issues you might not expect.”
The work-off program also targets veterans. Eligible veterans who work 125 hours for the city receive a 1000 dollar property tax exemption. Tim Niejadlik , the director of Holyoke’s Veterans’ Services Department says, “A lot of our veterans who are coming back from OIF or from Afghanistan are having a tough time paying bills, so that helps them right off the bat to take $1000 off their bill if they aren’t working or for some of our older veterans it helps them take a thousand dollars off their bill and stay in their home basically.”
This is the 11th year the city has offered the program for seniors and the first for veterans. The entire Work-Off program is paid for by the city of Holyoke. There are a limited number of positions available. The deadline for seniors to apply is March 29th. Call the Council on Aging office at 322-5625 to apply.
The application deadline for veterans is April 30th. Applications are available at the Veterans’ Services Department on the first floor of the War Memorial building at 310 Appleton Street.