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Property Tax Exemptions Are Carefully Tailored To Aid Less Fortuante Residents

by Connie Sartini
Groton’s Principal Assessor Jonathan Greeno updated the Select Board on the several vehicles available for eligible residents to apply for an exemption to reduce their property taxes. Greeno stressed that an applicant for any one of these exemptions can receive only one, but would be eligible for additional funds under the Senior Abatement Form.
     Exemptions are available for qualifying veterans, widows and widowers, minor children with one deceased parent, persons 70 years of age or older, and blind persons.
     In addition to the exemptions, two other methods are available to eligible residents to reduce real estate taxes including Property Tax Deferral, and an abatement from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) surcharge.
     In addition, there is also the Senior Work-off Program, which provides $700 abatement to a
resident’s real estate tax bill. Greeno said that, unlike the other programs, there are no income limits or asset limits for the Senior Work-Off Program.
     However, applicants are required to confirm their financial positions through their federal tax bill and bank accounts. This is so that the Assessors can give the available slots to the neediest first. Currently, there are about 23 residents in the program,
     Greeno advised that applications for exemptions must be filed with the Assessor’s Office on an annual basis. He noted that “every exemption that the state offers, we double it” through an article that is presented and approved at Town Meeting.
     All exemptions require documentation and have specific eligibility requirements.
     Real Estate Exemption Clause 17D includes widows and widowers, minor children with one deceased parent, persons 70 years of age or older. The Town of Groton has approved the sum of $350 for this exemption.
     Clause 41C also addresses elderly persons over 70 years of age. The town approved the sum of $1000 for this exemption.
     Clause 22, 22A through 22E contains exemptions for paraplegics that start at $800 and increase to several different levels depending on the disability for Qualifying Veterans.
     Clause 37 and 37A, the exemption for the Blind can reach a $1000 reduction.
     Clause 41A, the Property Tax Deferral allows an applicant at least 65 years of age to delay payment of property taxes that must ultimately be paid upon death. Eligible applicants for The most recent train blockade occurred in Harvard on Jan. 2 in the middle of the night. The train was traveling north from Worcester with approximately 10,000 tons of coal from West Virginia. Protesters had erected a scaffolding structure over the rail track in Harvard near Depot Rd. around 10:30 p.m.
     The protesters had alerted the railroad that a blockade had been erected. With that notice, the train stopped some distance from the blockade while Harvard police, state police and rail police tried to negotiate with the protesters to leave the scaffolding. When that failed, police climbed the structure and brought the protesters down without resistance. Four people were arrested and had to appear in Clinton District Court. The train was delayed for nearly eight hours before it continued its journey to Bow, NH. Similar protests blockaded train tracks in Ayer, West Boylston and Worcester. In West Boylston, the train did not stop and protesters had to scramble to get out of the way of the train.
     While protesters want to shut down the coal plant in Bow and reduce the “carbon footprint” of electric-generating plants in New England, GELD manager Kelly said the carbon footprint in New England has been declining steadily for the past 10 years. Kelly attributes that trend to the significant increase in the use of natural gas to fuel electric-generating plants. However, he noted that with the loss of the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant and the lack of action to bring more natural gas supply into New England, the region will see an increase in its carbon footprint in the next year or two.
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