MARLBOROUGH – Pat Shea and Gayle Martelli help keep the city running.
They are among dozens of senior citizens working in city departments and programs in exchange for an abatement on their property taxes.
Through the Senior Tax Work Off Program, eligible residents can volunteer for up to 100 hours per year. The city recently approved an increase in the abatement from $1,000 to $1,500 per year.
“The money’s good. It helps with the real estate tax,” said Shea, who is starting her second year as a greeter in City Hall.
She directs visitors to the right departments, and she also helps stuff envelopes.
“It gives me something to do,” she said. “It’s easy and it’s fun.”
About the Senior Citizen Tax Work Off Program
Under the Senior Citizen Tax Work Off Program, residents age 60 and older who have resided in the city for at least five years and are eligible under income guidelines may work for the city in exchange for a one-time abatement of their property taxes.
According to Mayor Arthur Vigeant in a letter to the council, the program will continue to be funded through the city’s overlay account.
“This increase will be beneficial to our eligible seniors who are on fixed incomes and struggle with the increase in groceries and average cost of living expenses,” said Vigeant.
The city adopted the property tax workoff program in fiscal 2013.
Meet the participants
Shea, who turns 87 in August, has lived in Marlborough for 64 years.
When she and late husband, Bob, moved to Clinton Street, they paid $13,000 for their house.
A mother of five, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of four, Shea has worked in a variety of jobs, from Marlborough Hospital to Data General and Holiday Inn.
Upstairs in the Office of Inspectional Services, Martelli scans public folders as part of the permitting process.
“You buy a house. You request a file, and it gets scanned,” she said.
Martelli likes the job, even if it’s highly detailed.
“You can’t miss any information,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I like doing it.”
Martelli has lived in Marlborough for 35 years. She worked in sales for LifeLine for 35 years before she retired.
Martelli is also a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force – six years on active duty, 15 years with the reserves. She retired with the rank of technical sergeant.
“The discount on my real estate taxes is great,” she said. “I’m on a fixed income.”
For more information on the program, visit https://www.marlborough-ma.gov/council-aging/pages/property-tax-work-information