Baker OKs Tax Relief for Disabled

November 16, 2018

WESTFORD -- Disabled residents in town will soon be able to access new property tax exemptions up to $2,000 after a law approving the local change was formally signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Efforts to implement such a program in Westford stretch back several years. The town’s Senior, Low-Income, Disabled Tax Relief Committee, formed to examine ways to relieve the burdens on those residents, recommended similar tax exemptions for those who are disabled as veterans and seniors.

The Annual Town Meeting in March voted in favor of seeking legislation to implement the change, and on Wednesday, state Rep. Jim Arciero announced the bill’s journey to law was complete.

“I am glad to have been able to fulfill the request of the citizens of Westford to pass legislation to allow disabled persons to access certain real property tax exemptions which currently apply to our veterans and senior citizens,” Arciero said in a press release. “I applaud the effort of the members of the SLIDTR Committee in drafting this legislation and their successful push to have it passed by Westford Town Meeting.”

Several additional steps are necessary before the law takes effect, town officials said. The passed law must go back to Town Meeting in March 2019 and also receive approval on the ballot in the May town elections.

Once those happen, disabled individuals under the age of 70 who have resided in Westford for at least 10 years can apply through the assessor’s office for the exemption. Town employees will review applications and approve those who qualify.

The exemption amount follows Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 4 of state law, according to Town Assessor Paul Plouffe, and was amended by a Town Meeting vote to top out at $2,000.

Jodi Ross, the Westford town manager, said: “Westford Selectmen and Town Meeting are committed to helping disabled, low-income residents be able to stay in their homes. This new legislation is another step toward providing that opportunity.”

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