Holiday relief for taxpayers

To the editor,

2020 has been a difficult year for many individuals and families. For those individuals finding it difficult to pay their property tax, there is a potential solution for eligible parties.

Municipalities can assist property taxpayers by reducing or assisting with payment of property taxes. An abatement is the process involved. Applications for an abatement are confidential.

Various forms can be obtained from your municipal office. It would be best to obtain the necessary paperwork by calling during this COVID-19 crisis. The assessor or city clerk office can assist with the abatement process.

Abatements are based on financial hardship. Municipal officers assist in determining the abatement amount. Abatements are allowed for property on the primary residence.

Once the application and related forms are submitted a written decision will be made within 30 days of the date of application.

If a hearing is to be held, it will be done during a city council’s executive session for privacy reasons. The governing body (city council) must send its decision within 30 days.

If an application is denied or not as expected, the governing body must provide specific reason(s) for the decision. Additionally, there must be language on how the applicant can appeal as well as the procedure requesting an appeal.

Barbara Colman

Is it fair?

To the editor,

Saco leadership decided to shut down non-essential services from Dec. 28 through Jan. 3, 2021 for its nearly 200 employees. The reason being is that these public servants worked diligently through the COVID crisis. Do we face the same six months from now since the COVID problem will still be around?

How much consideration was given to the many shut-ins, unemployed, business closures etc. What about citizens who are or may be relying on various services? What happens on the fourth if a rush occurs for services? Will we then have an outbreak of COVID?

Recognition could have been handled differently so as to keep the city open for service. For example, staggering the days over the year could have been done. Here is the real kicker. The cost for this gratuity will exceed $125,000 not including benefits. Is this fair?

John Harkins

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