EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

November 4, 2012

Letter:

Work program is popular with seniors

To the editor:

I read your recent editorial about Haverhill’s Senior Tax Incentive Program with great dismay. I am the coordinator of the program. This program has enabled seniors to reduce their property tax bill by $1,000 with the city as well as utilize some of their skills acquired over a lifetime.

The program has asset and income limits to make certain that only the people that need a break get a break.

It has been my experience that the people who sign up for this program love it! They sign up year after year and often indicate how much they enjoy being active on retirement and giving back to their city. The Eagle-Tribune disparagingly compared them to “indentured servants.” The senior citizens who use the program hardly see themselves that way. They see the program as giving them an opportunity to reduce their tax bill and help the city they love.

For the city, it provides assistance to the many busy offices in the city. We have placed seniors in the mayor’s office, human resources department, city clerk’s office, the public library, citizens center and many more locations. They are providing valuable services to these offices and through that, to the city itself. All participants come voluntarily, work the hours they want and acquire a healthy credit for their tax bill. This program recognizes the value of our seniors and honors the contributions they make to Haverhill.

The Eagle-Tribune editorial denigrating this fine program and the senior citizens who willingly take part in it as “indentured servants” was simply wrong. The Eagle-Tribune should be praising people who help their city, not criticizing them.

Joel Berg

Project Coordinator

Haverhill Council on Aging

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