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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finance Committee Meeting Recap

The finance committee met last night to discuss a five item agenda that included important tax exemption legislation submitted by the Mayor and members of the Board of Aldermen.

After approving the minutes from their February 25th meeting, the committee quickly jumped in to discuss legislative item number 16418: an appropriation of $64,000 and $64,000 in a bond to replace the existing temporary trailer living quarters for Union Square Firefighters with a prefabricated modular two story structure, also to be used as living quarters. For those of you playing at home, Firefighters have been living in the trailer for 16 years. This is the second appropriation focused on improving Somerville Firefighter living quarters as $120,000 was approved to upgrade Engine 7 on Highland Avenue. The committee unanimously approved this request after being briefed by the Fire Chief.

Legislative item number 1964727, the Home Rule Petition to increase the residential tax exemption, fielded the lengthiest discussion that included the Mayor's Assistant, Finance Director and City Solicitor. The increase from 30% to 35% will save taxpayers quite a bit of money, but has to be approved on the State level. Omar Boukili (Mayor's Assistant) informed the committee that the State delegation gave him a target date of 2016 before a decision is made. Should it be approved, this will be the largest residential tax exemption in the State.

A resolution submitted by Alderman At Large Dennis M. Sullivan, Ward Two Alderman Maryann M. Heuston, Alderman At Large Mary Jo Rossetti, and Ward Seven Alderman Katjana Ballantyne requesting that senior citizens be exempt from paying the surcharge associated with the Community Preservation Act tax was placed on file after the committee was informed that the administration was working towards higher exemptions for different Somerville residents that includes seniors and Veterans.

Rounding out the meeting was an approval to accept a grant of $5,000 from Project Bread. According to the description, the funds will be used "to support the 1:1 match for qualified Somerville Mobile Market patrons (those who use EBT cards or WIC to make purchases, live in one of the housing development that are a site for the Market, or are seniors living on low fixed incomes). The match program increases low-income individuals' and families' patronage of the market and, by extension, their consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. Based on activity in previous years, Shape Up Somerville expects to provide $6,000 in subsidies which translated into $12,000 worth of produce sold."

All items will be presented to the full Board of Aldermen for final approval with legislative item number 196427 moving on to the State for consideration.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The PCA exemption for senior citizens is one big joke for most seniors.

That exemption was on the ballot....but wait, first the senior had to pay the tax; and did so in two successive tax quarters.
Then the assesors department said, when questioned about the senior exemption, that seniors had to file an application for a rebate after Jan.1,2014.

With the EXTENSIVE INCOME DOCUMENTATION they, or the state required, ONLY QUALIFYING SENIORS WERE ENTITLED TO A REBATE.
What was initially thought of as a simple exemption for seniors is not the case.

In so many words, simply providing a birth certificate proving the person is, in fact, a senior citizen-------as most seniors, I know, thought when they voted for the PCA tax.

I wonder if Alderman Sullivan, and other aldermen signing on to his resolution, understand fully as to what I explained above; and what my senior friend experienced.

When he found out all the documentation,proofs, paperwork, etc. he had to provide to qualify for his exemption, he gsve up the exemption.


Anonymous said...

Not until 2016? It takes those idiots that long to give homeowners in Somerville a break?

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add:

In order to request the exemption, my friend called the assessor's office after Jan. 1, 2014 and asked to be sent the "form application" needed to obtain the exemption.
They did send the form via mail.

He filled out ALL the info requested on the application form and hand-carried the completed paaperwork to the Assesor's office.
Whereupon he was told ADDITIONAL documentation was required and needed.

Frustrated, that's when he gave up any further efforts to secure the rebate exemption.

Anonymous said...

Read the 1st post again.
Not 2016! Jan, 1, 2014 is correct as written