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Publish Date: 9/6/2005

Program enables seniors to work off taxes


For many people, retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it can leave many senior citizens feeling a little restless and strapped for cash.

For nearly 20 years, Boulder County officials have been working to help ease these concerns for local senior citizens by providing a program that allows them to work and use the money to pay their county taxes.

Erie resident Rosemary Duran knows what it’s like to have more free time and bills to pay, which is why she has participated in the program for the last two years.

The Boulder County Senior Tax Work-Off program places able-bodied senior citizens in a variety of municipal jobs, such as voter registration, land maintenance, clerical, gardening and staffing the Boulder County booth come fair time.

“It’s a win-win situation for both the county and the seniors,” program director Marianne Reichert said last week. “They can earn some money, and we get a really valuable work force for a small investment.”

Wages earned allow seniors to pay a portion of their county taxes, up to $700, by working about 100 hours.

The program mandates that applicants be 60 or older and live on the property for which they are paying taxes.

Interested seniors fill out an application listing skills and areas of expertise. After an interview, Reichert attempts to match them with an open position.

Duran, an Erie resident since 2001, said the program allowed her to learn various skills and introduced her to people she might not have met otherwise, in addition to easing her property tax burden.

In 2004, Duran worked in voter registration. This year, she has been lending a hand to the Boulder County Housing Authority.

“It was fun for me,” Duran said from her Erie Village home this week. “They orient you to what kind of obligations that they expect of you and had very nice people who take you under their wing and make sure that you do it right.”

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