Legislature passes tax abatement for daughter of fallen firefighter

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Legislature passes tax abatement for daughter of fallen firefighter
The funeral procession proceeds down Green Street in Worcester following the funeral Mass for Christopher Roy in 2018. Now the legislature has passed a tax abatement for the domicile of Ava Roy.  (Photo/Melanie Petrucci)

SHREWSBURY – The Massachusetts Legislature passed House Bill 3906 on Aug. 17, which allows Shrewsbury to grant a real estate tax abatement for the domicile of Ava Roy. 

Roy’s father – Worcester firefighter Christopher Roy – was killed in the line of duty in 2018. 

According to an official joint statement from Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) and Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury), “Tax assessors are allowed to exempt real estate taxes for the surviving minor children of police or firefighters who are killed in the line of duty if the… child owns and occupies the property.” 

However, Roy – a minor – is unable to own the property and thus the “Shrewsbury Board of Assessors was unable to grant tax relief until the passage of this bill,” the statement said.

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The bill, which is technically a home rule petition, was first approved at the Shrewsbury Town Meeting in May (Article 4). Prior to the meeting, Town Manager Kevin Mizikar noted that the removed taxes would be worth approximately $8,600 per year through 2036. Roy currently lives with her grandparents in Shrewsbury, and their house would receive the tax exemption.

Kane and Moore had been advocating for the passage of this legislation since Shrewsbury sent the petition to the state months ago. 

“I am pleased that Shrewsbury will now be able to exempt the real estate taxes for the home in which Ava Roy lives with her grandparents,” Kane said in the release. “This measure satisfies the intent of the original state law allowing for a property tax exemption to the children of fallen firefighters.  I am grateful to the assessor’s office in the town of Shrewsbury for bringing to my attention the need for special legislation to provide this benefit in Shrewsbury.”

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“With the passage of this legislation, Ava Roy will receive the state support that she deserves after the tragic death of her father, Christopher Roy,” said Moore. “The Commonwealth must give back to those whose family members lose their lives as a result of serving their communities, and I’m proud to have worked with Representative Kane to uphold Christopher Roy’s memory.”

Gov. Maura Healey is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

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