From the Town of Great Barrington

The town hosts an information meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9 to share details of the Senior Property Tax Work-off Program, which provides a tax bill reduction of up to $1,500 to participating seniors age 60 and over. The meeting takes place at 1 p.m. at the Claire Teague Senior Center.

Town residents 60 and older -- regardless of income -- can join the Senior Property Tax Work-off Program. Work completed by Aug 28, 2020 will result in a 2021 property tax bill reduction of up to $1,500.

The Senior Tax Work-off Program already has nearly 30 participants, but 45 new positions have been identified throughout various town departments. Seniors with talents and skills in a wide range of areas – from gardening to computer technology and office skills to financial talent, photography and library interests – are invited to apply.

The program elements include:

· Participants work up to 125 hours per year of work (approximately 2.4 hours per week); work can begin at any time during the year.

· Work is calculated at a rate of $12 per hour, which is applied to the FY2021 property tax exemption, up to $1,500.

· Work takes place before Aug. 28, 2020; the application process is now open.

· The town will match seniors’ skills with the identified town departments and roles that require assistance.

· There are no income or asset income limits for participants.

“The great thing about Senior Tax Work-Off is that there are no income or asset limits – anyone can participate,” said Karen Smith, who participates by coordinating the Senior Tax Work-Off Program. “It can be rewarding and fun to work with the town, to learn about town government and get a tax break in return. It’s win-win situation: seniors have skills, and the town needs those skills.”

The town is accepting applications from resident taxpayers 60 and older. Those who applied in 2018 or 2019 need not re-apply but will be contacted by phone for updates.

Applications are available online or may be obtained from the Town Manager’s office at Town Hall, during regular business hours.

Examples of skills and work needed:

-Computers/technology; scanning, digitizing files, data entry
-Website management
-Inventory recording
-Financial assistance; billing, payroll
-General clerical office assistance; answering phones, filing, taking minutes
-Transfer Station/Swap Shack assistance
-Photography
-Senior Center trip coordinators, monitors, meal site manager
-Library shelving, delivering books
-Maintenance and gardening

The Senior Real Estate Tax Work-Off Program is a state-wide program—one of several that assist seniors with property tax relief. Details will be shared at the Oct. 9 meeting.

For further information contact Amy Pulver, apulver@townofgb.org.