By Adam Strunk
There’s free money out there for painting and guttering if you live in a neighborhood revitalization area in Newton.
In August of 2021, the city allocated $50,000 to a program that would pay half the cost of painting or guttering improvements to homes in the revitalization area. The program would pay up to $1,000 for buying materials.
So far though, no one’s really used it.
“Just three rebates have been issued,” said Rebecca Likiardopoulos, Director of Administrative Services with the city.
“I don’t think it’s made its way into the mainstream,” she said of knowledge of the program.
The resolution that created the ordinance stated that the program works as a way of easing the financial burden of weatherizing homes and also serves strategic city goals by helping to repair and rehabilitate homes.
At the time the City created the program, it anticipated that there could be more applications than dollars to go around.
The program sets aside a selection process to decide which properties would receive the funds first.
Applications for properties on Main, Broadway, and 1st Street, those in a home listed as historic on the National, State or Local Registers, those with demonstrated economic need, senior citizens over 65, and or first-time homebuyers would receive priority under the current structure.
“We just wanted to do some of those high-impact projects and make a difference to the property,” Likiardopoulos said.
She explained how the system works. First, you pick up an application for the program either at City Hall or by downloading an application from the city’s website and then printing it.
Fill out the application and then turn the application into the city.
Once the application is approved, and you’re working on the painting or guttering project, keep the receipts for materials.
You can then provide the receipts and the city will write you a check for half the cost of materials of the project. Rebates are limited to $1,000 per property.
Likiardopoulos said the city made the decision to pay for materials because it allows property owners more options on how they get the job done.
“We didn’t want to penalize someone for doing the work themselves,” she said.
How the program resolution is written people would have until the end of 2022 to apply for the program.
The weatherization program is not the only incentive the city adds for improvements within its neighborhood revitalization district — basically all of the city North of the Highway with the exception of a few comparatively newer neighborhoods.
The City offers a tax abatement program that abates five years of property taxes on improvements made to residences in the district.