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Voters OK Veterans Tax Work Off Program

Westborough becomes first Massachusetts town -- and third municipality -- to offer this.

Westbororough will offer a veterans tax work off program -- just the third Massachusetts community to do this under a state law that took effect on May 31.

Only the cities of Holyoke and Leominster have accepted the statute, known as the Valor Act, Selectman Timothy Dodd told voters at Tuesday night's special town meeting, where residents approved the request.

Under the law, communities may offer their veterans up to $1,000 per year off their property taxes through working for the municipality.

"We will be the first town in Massachusetts to do this," Dodd said.

Westborough will have 10 spots available in the program during its first year, he said.

Westborough's senior tax work off program began with the same number, and has since grown to 50 spots, Dodd said.

Selectmen have drafted a policy for the veteran's progam, and plan to have the program operational within a month or two, he said.

The draft policy reflects the statute, he said. In addition, if the applicant pool exceeds the number of available spots, preference may be given to veterans who have resided in Westborough for five or more years, disabled veterans, and may be subject to income verification, he said.

No one may participate in both the veteran's and senior tax workoff programs "and get $2,000 off their tax bill," he said.

Selectmen seek to "help as many people as possible," Dodd said.

State lawmakers initially set a $750 cap for the veteran's program, he said.

Westborough selectmen then worked with the town's three state representatives, who supported legislation raising the cap to $1,000, to be consistent with Westborough's senior program, Dodd said.

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