The Acton Water District (AWD) has recently clarified and streamlined its discount program for low-to-moderate-income seniors.
The program is open to people 65 and older who own their residence and have individually monitored water service. Rather than making a separate inquiry into income eligibility, the AWD piggybacks on the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption program offered by the Town of Acton. If you are eligible for the senior property tax exemption, you are automatically eligible for the AWD discount. You must first apply for and receive the Town exemption, and then use that documentation to apply for the AWD discount. Relevant resources:
- Town of Acton booklet on tax relief programs, pages 3, 4, and 5
- website for Acton Assessor’s Office, which administers the property tax exemption programs
- phone number for the Acton Assessor’s Office: 978.929.6621
- AWD website about the senior discount program.
- email for Mary J. Bates, the collector for the AWD: firstname.lastname@example.org
The AWD Commissioners worked on the senior discount program over the course of several of their meetings throughout the spring of 2018. The impetus for this effort came from a query from Green Acton Water Committee member Ro (Roswitha) Pinto. This sequence of events highlights the accessibility and responsiveness of the AWD Commissioners to residents’ concerns. The Commissioners’ meetings are announced on their website, and every meeting opens with an opportunity for Comments from Citizens. As of a few months ago, all of the background materials for the meeting are posted in .pdf form on the website about two days before each meeting. The Green Acton Water Committee tries to have a representative at every AWD Commissioners’ meeting, but other Green Acton members with water interests or concerns are most welcome, as well. Meetings are at the AWD Headquarters Building, 693 Massachusetts Avenue, most often on Monday evenings at 7:30.
From the Green Acton perspective, supporting a senior low-to-moderate-income discount on water is an environmental justice issue, a matter of working to ensure that the essential gifts of the Earth such as drinking water are equitably available to all. From a community perspective, initiatives like this make it easier for more seniors to “age in place” and remain in Acton.