City officials in Holyoke are opening up a tax work-off program to veterans who live in the city. The program is similar to one available to senior citizens around the Commonwealth. For the past eleven years, certain Holyoke residents have been hard at work trimming bushes and updating the city’s website in exchange for deductions on their property taxes. 72-year old Joan Grady applied to the program last year. She says her it’s helped her stay a-float financially and gain perspective on city politics.
“I almost fainted when they told me I was assigned to the mayor’s office. But I’ve learned a lot working. What goes on in City Hall. And to get the 750 dollars off your real estate tax you have that much less to pay. It was really more than a paycheck.”
Mayor Morse says offering that kind of opportunity to veterans could help those returning and already at home transition to the next chapters of their lives.
“We want to be able to help our veterans bolster their work and resume experience to be able to find more permanent employment after the program.”
City officials say the program was introduced through Governor Patrick’s VALOR act, passed last spring. But it hasn’t caught on in many other places because the state doesn’t reimburse cities and towns for the program. Morse says the city will pay twenty veterans one-thousand dollar stipends for 125 hours of work over the next year. The application deadline is April 30th.