By: Dennis Hohenberger
Article Credit: MassLive
HOLYOKE — Qualified veterans can save up to $1,500 on their real estate taxes through a work-off program run by the city Department of Veterans’ Services.
Jesus Pereira, the department’s director, said accepted applicants must work a minimum of 117 hours to get the full $1,500 credit applied to next year’s property tax bill. The program credits $12.75 per hour toward the tax. Any work beyond 125 hours will not be credited.
“The Veteran Tax Work off program is an opportunity for Holyoke Veterans to volunteer and assist City Departments all while reducing their property tax liability,” Pereira said. “Veterans can utilize their skills and assist our City Departments with day to day operations.”
Twenty spots are open for fiscal 2020 and applications are due by April 23. The property deed must show the applicant’s name, and family members cannot combine work hours.
Applicants must match an available need within a department, and a possess requisite skills for the position. Department supervisors will conduct interviews. The city conducts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background checks on all applicants.
If chosen, the applicant undergoes a two-week probationary or evaluation period. The applicant cannot work for a relative who is a city employee. Based on need, the individual could work for more than one city department.
Elderly applicants can choose between the veteran’s work-off or senior tax abatement programs.
First-time applicants are given “primary consideration,” according to Pereira, with past workers permitted to reapply in subsequent years. The city will use a lottery system if the number of applicants exceeds available positions.
Department supervisors fill out weekly and monthly time sheets and submit them to the Veterans’ Services director. The assessor’s office will receive a final accounting of hours worked.