Holyoke offers veterans a property tax reduction program

HOLYOKE — The city Department of Veterans Services offers veteran homeowners a $1,500 property tax credit through work leave program.

Director of Veterans Services Jesus Pereira said applications must be submitted by April 30, with the selection process starting in May.

“We have 20 slots available, and priority will go to those who didn’t attend last year. Last year we had around 12 entrants even though we had 20 slots available. Before the pandemic, we managed to fill all 20 slots,” Pereira said.

He added that the program increases the city’s workforce while reducing the tax burden on veterans.

“This is a mutually beneficial program for the City of Holyoke and our veterans,” Pereira said.

The name of the applicant must appear on the deed of ownership of the program from July 1 to November 30.

Participants must work 105 hours in a city service to receive the full amount. The tax credit, net of assets, is applied to the property tax bill for the following year. Veterans accepted into the program cannot share hours worked.

Positions depend on labor requirements and may include work for more than one municipal department. All accumulated hours would be credited to the tax credit even if the 105 hour threshold was not reached, which would result in a prorated allocation.

If placed, the candidate will be paid $14.25 per hour, with a maximum reduction of $1,500 per exercise. Additionally, older veterans can choose between Veterans Services or a citywide property tax credit program.

Participation is based on the candidate’s skills and an existing service need. The department supervisor interviews candidates for vacancies.

If chosen, individuals undergo a two-week probationary period “to assess the suitability of the placement”. Additionally, the program prohibits participants from working directly with a parent who is a city employee.

Although former participants can apply, the most important consideration goes to new applicants. No one is guaranteed a job and a lottery system is used if an opening has multiple applicants.

Department supervisors will complete weekly or monthly timesheets and submit them to Pereira for review. All hours tracked are then forwarded to the city assessor for a final tally.

The Holyoke Veterans Services Department can be contacted online at www.holyoke.org/departments/veterans or by calling 413-322-5630.

Maria D. Ervin