Westford seniors means-based property-tax exemption signed by Gov. Charlie Baker

Westford seniors means-based property-tax exemption signed by Gov. Charlie Baker

WESTFORD, MA – Gov. Charlie Baker signed a home-rule petition last week granting Westford the ability to establish a means-tested senior-citizen property-tax exemption.

The measure is designed to cut taxes for many low-income seniors living on fixed incomes who have faced rapidly increasing property taxes in recent years. It was initially proposed by the Westford Senior, Low-income, Disabled Tax Relief Committee (SLIDTR), was passed by Town Meeting in October 2018 and filed as a home-rule petition in the state Legislature. State Rep. Jim Arciero, a Westford Democrat, and state Sen. Ed Kennedy, a Lowell Democrat, filed the legislation at the State House in 2019.

“I am pleased we were able to pass this measure and get the Governor’s approval to give this important tax option to the seniors of Westford.  We all know that in the last few decades, property values and assessments have increased in our town,” said Arciero. “This new law will give greater flexibility to Westford seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to be able to stay in their homes and in our town where they have raised their families.”

“Congratulations to the members of the SLIDTR Committee for identifying an issue and putting in the hard work to create this program that has the potential to help many Westford seniors remain in their homes for many years to come,” Kennedy said in a statement.

Westford residents must vote to adopt the legislation in an upcoming town election. Assuming it passes, the bill will apply to residents of Westford who are 65 or older who occupy a property as their primary residence and have lived in town for at least 10 years. The exemption also must not exceed 50% of total taxes assessed, and the program has an asset limit for applicants.

Westford Select Board Chair Andrea Peraner-Sweet said in a statement that the Select Board will discuss adding the measure as a ballot question during the town elections in May.

(See article posted on Westford CAT News Online edition, posted 1/24/2021):

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