Clarification on Transfer Station stickers for seniors

DPW clarifies that seniors who rent can also get free stickers

Above: The DPW shared more accurate information about senior eligibility to get free Transfer Station permits. (2021 image by DPW’s Tammi Rice)

Public Works asked me to update and clarify for readers that seniors who rent homes in Southborough also qualify for free Transfer Station permits.

On Wednesday, I posted that the permits were free to senior homeowners and that proof of homeownership (in the form of a property tax bill) is required. That caused some consternation and confusion.

Apparently, the language in the posted FAQs and on the rules and regs is inaccurate. It states that to qualify, seniors must be the owner of record for the property. But, as DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan explained in an email to me, it would have been more accurate to say “primary resident at the residence”.

She explains:

Nothing has changed for seniors this year. . .

they need to own the house or they need to be the leasee of the house or apartment. This came about from seniors moving in with their children’s families and getting free transfer permits for the household. Residents took issue with this, so the town tries to ensure that residents who should be paying for permits, pay for permits.

We have always checked drivers licenses and have checked homeownership or lease agreements. We were able to check ownership in the office, and if the address is a rental development, such as Madison Place or Colonial Gardens, we would not ask for a lease agreement; however, someone renting at a house, or an entire house, would show the lease agreement. Again, nothing has changed for seniors, I just think that now that people are uploading documents with the new permit software, other people are becoming aware of the regulation.

I believe that we need to clarify the definition of a senior resident on the rules and regulations to say “…owners of record, or leases of a Southborough residence…”. No one noticed that it didn’t include renters, but that definition hasn’t changed (except for the dates) over the years, but it obviously isn’t clear and needs to be changed.

If you are a senior born before 12/31/57 who rents a residence in Southborough and you are unsure what proof you need to provide, you can contact the DPW directly at at (508) 485-1210. They are open weekdays from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.

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Carl Guyer
1 year ago

So again we are going to raise the price of Transfer Station stickers to give every Senior a free sticker regardless of need. Last time I checked into this when stickers were $250.00, if seniors were required to purchase stickers the cost would be around $170.00. I always like to poke fun at this policy by noting I have a free sticker on the front of my Lexus ES 350. That irritates a lot of people I say that and it should. Now stickers are going to be $280.00 Couldn’t we ask Seniors to pay at least half of the going rate? Can we redirect this benevolence to those in need, not those who tend to vote more in local elections.

John Kendall
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Guyer

Let’s not ruin it yet. This is the first year I qualify as a senior!

Al Hamilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Guyer

I appreciate you desire to means test free stickers. However, the devil is in the details. How would you determine who qualifies? Would an applicant need to file a copy of their tax return with the town? Perhaps we could just do it by the age of the vehicle? Would a 2012 Rolls Royce qualify? Would this data be secure?!?!
Perhaps the cost of administering the program would outweigh the benefit. Maybe we should just leave sleeping dogs lie but if you are really serious I can offer 2 suggestions:

  1. Get 10 signatures on a warrant article and put the proposition before Town Meeting.
  2. Of course, nothing is preventing you from paying $250 for your sticker if you so choose.
Kelly Roney
1 year ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

There is already a means-tested free transfer station sticker, for which one would have to submit a tax return. The fee waiver form is here.

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