Terra Friedrichs

& her local work in
Acton, Massachusetts

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Senior Concerns

[See below for info about the Senior Tax Relief program]

Message from Terra:

I start by asking:  Who doesn't love seniors?  We ALL love seniors.  We can't have an interesting, healthy society without having a variety of age groups interacting with one another.  So how do we keep seniors here in Acton?  I think the best way is to GIVE THEM THEIR MONEY BACK!  Yes!  I support large senior tax breaks.  ESPECIALLY for those that are "income challenged".

Their incomes are often fixed, and their costs keep going up!  That's not good!
Helping seniors stay in Acton helps the greater community in so many ways.  It helps to have wise people around.  It seems that children grow up more well-rounded in societies where seniors are presen

And for those taxpayers worried about money, the cheapest thing to do is to keep seniors here!  When a senior moves out, often the house gets torn down and several smaller units go up.  Those units aren't necessarily deemed "affordable" and they don't bring in much new tax revenue.  But, to the taxpayers' concerns, kids may likely move into those new units and kids cost money.  Please don't misunderstand, we all love kids.  But there is a consequence to a growing child population in town, and that is school over-crowding which then increases school needs/budgets and jeopardizes the quality of our schools.  Not to mention, keeping seniors to "age in place" is a great way to keep the town balanced.

How is Terra helping Seniors?

When she first joined the BoS in 2008 one of her assignments was to be the Liaison to the Senior Tax Relief Committee. She was so excited, because she loves so many elders in her life, that she wanted to do what she could for all seniors. So she went to the meeting and was horrified to find out that the ENTIRE BUDGET for Senior Tax Relief was about $10,000. She wanted to make sure she understood. So she asked, "per person, right"? and no, she found out it was the entire budget.

So she marched into action. She visited with Brian McMullen, the Town Assessor and started exploring ways that we can give more tax relief. He educated her about the law, and she found out that there's a way to offer more Senior Tax Relief but that we need to budget for it. So she set her mind on increasing the advocacy around increasing that budget. She's glad to report that the Town Manager, Steve Ledoux has helped increase that budget multiples...so that we're in the hundreds of thousands of dollars/year, not tens of thousands! And there's more coming. We hope, someday, to have an "automatic" discount for seniors who receiving "circuit breaker" income tax relief from the state.

Either way, right now, if you're over 65 and your property taxes exceed 10% of your income, PLEASE go see Brian at Town Hall, you may very well be qualified for a discount to reduce your property taxes to 10% of your income. There are limits on this. For example, if you have extraordinary assets, then you may not qualify. Also, the reduction can't be more than 50%, I believe... Either way, you might be leaving free money on the table! Please go see Brian!

See the Senior Tax Relief program here!

Here's Brian's contact info:

Brian McMullen
Assistant Finance Director/Principal Assessor

472 Main Street
Acton, MA 01720

Phone: (978) 929-6621

Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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