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Senior Citizen Property Tax Work Off Program

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senior Citizen Property Tax Work Off Program

In 2007 Mayor Thomas M. Menino instated the Senior Citizen Property Tax Work-Off Program. The program gives qualifying applicants, who must be 60 years of age or older, the opportunity to offset their property tax through part-time employment.

In the past three years the program has helped 39 Boston homeowners. The accepted applicants will have the opportunity to work at City Hall or city departments and agencies in the Boston neighborhoods.   

The program is a collaboration of Assessing, the Elderly Commission and Inter-Governmental Relations. In order to apply, applicants must own and occupy residential property in the City of Boston for at least three years. Income restrictions are $30,000 for single applicants and $45,000 for married applicants including gross income from all sources.  

The deadline for applications is Aug. 1, 2011.  For more information on the Senior Citizen Property Tax Work-off Program please call Tula Mahl, Elderly Commission Project liaison, at 617-635-1922.

Aging MBTA trolley cars need $100M in upgrades

The head of the MBTA says the transit agency needs to spend $100 million to upgrade aging Orange and Red Line cars in order to maintain service, and perhaps 10 times that to eventually replace them.

General Manager Richard Davey said last week that a review of the two lines confirmed that train cars, that in some cases are 40 years old, are causing longer waits for riders and more frequent service interruptions.

The Boston Globe reports that although all 120 Orange Line cars and one-third of the Red Line cars are well past their intended lifespan, their replacement — at a cost of $1 billion — is a decade away.

Neither the total replacement nor the temporary solution was included in budgets approved in April.

Mass. audit: State lost $1.2M to fraud in 3 months

In just the past three months, Massachusetts has lost $1.2 million to fraud in public assistance programs.

The Bureau of Special Investigations, part of the State Auditor’s office, announced last Thursday it has found 121 instances of illegal activity and fraud in the 610 cases investigated from January through March.

The report cited a Bristol County woman who allegedly took $103,000 in Medicaid reimbursements, claiming a friend was her personal care attendant. That friend was in jail during the time she was supposed to be working.

MassHealth has been the most abused department. The auditors said 71 percent of the illegal claims they discovered came from its programs last year. Investigators received 2,000 complaints in the 2010 fiscal year and found $4.1 million in fraudulent claims.

The evidence will be passed on to law enforcement.

Mass. Gov. Patrick OKs wage hikes for managers

Gov. Deval Patrick is allowing the heads of state agencies to offer up to three percent wage hikes to 4,000 executive branch managers.

The increases could cost $9.9 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Patrick’s budget chief Jay Gonzalez said the raises would be the first in three years. During that time, the managers have taken unpaid furloughs and seen their staffs cut as the state reduced its workforce.

Gonzalez said there would be no additional money added to the state budget for the raises. He said the agencies could approve the raises by finding money within their existing budgets.

He called the $9.9 million a modest cost which won’t hurt state services. He noted that union workers are also scheduled to receive a 3 percent raise.

Associated Press