Friday, November 28, 2008
BOH discusses Septic Loan program
One item on the Board of Health (BOH) agenda for its November 18 meeting was the Community Septic Management Program. To help homeowners comply with Title 5 rules, the Commonwealth has invested in a program that funds loans to communities through the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust. The BOH provided an overview of the program for townspeople, though fine points of the program’s implementation continue to be ironed out.
According to Board Chair Jeff Brem, the basics of the program available from the town are: For the repair of a failed septic system for a homeowner’s primary residence, a loan of up to $40,000 can be available from the town at an interest rate of 5% to be paid back over a ten-year period. To qualify, the homeowner’s income must be $150,000 or less and a Betterment Agreement must be recorded between the homeowner and the town.
Since the amount of money available in the program will be limited in any given year, the BOH has developed some criteria for prioritizing requests. Questions raised during the meeting and comments made by some members of the audience suggested that, based on the homeowner’s circumstances, a better deal may be available by using a home equity loan with its tax-deductible elements to finance such a repair.
There appears to be some discrepancies on what the cost to the town would be. According to Brem, the Town Treasurer stated that Carlisle must pay the money back to the state at an interest rate of 2% over a 20-year period. However, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website indicates that the money is available to the town at 0%.
That same website indicates that the homeowner can qualify for a Title 5 Credit against income of 40% of the repair cost or $15,000. However, Massachusetts Tax Form SC for 2007 states that a credit of up to $6,000 over four years is available to the homeowner to repair a failed septic system.
It was not clear whether the Treasurer could be available at a later meeting to clarify some of these questions. ∆
© 2008 The