New Funds Support Local Veterans and Monuments
The Wakefield Veteran Relief Fund aims to provide rapid support to Wakefield veterans in need of food, heat and emergency repairs not covered by state and federal veteran benefits. Although Wakefield will spend more than $200,000 this year in codified veteran relief through the state's Chapter 115 program, delays in town warranting and limitations in the program prevent VSO Andrew Biggio from providing rapid relief in some cases.
Voting for the Wakefield Veteran Tax Check Off would correct this deficiency. The fund would allow Wakefield Veteran Services, under the supervision of town officials and the Wakefield Veterans Advisory Board, to purchase supermarket gift cards and authorize local fuel vendors to fill tanks of veterans in need of oil. The fund will be limited to these emergency measures, but they can make a large difference for veterans and their families.
Wakefield residents wanting to donate to the fund would be allowed, if this measure passes, to add additional cost to their property and excise tax payments. It is important to note that this measure would not increase taxes unless the taxpayer chooses to donate. Although there are many great veteran charities, this is a local option allowing residents to know that their donated funds stay in Wakefield.
Similar to the Wakefield Relief Fund, the Wakefield Veteran Monument Restoration Fund would allow residents to donate to an account earmarked for ensuring that all of the beautiful Wakefield Veteran Monuments remain in their original state of honor. Often, residents donate and gather to install monuments noting key sacrifices made by local veteran on behalf of their nation. However, over time, these monuments fade and in many cases, there are no funds set aside to make sure they retain their dignity. This measure would solve that problem.
To ensure the money is spent correctly, an oversight board would be established using members of Wakefield Veteran Services, the Wakefield Veterans Advisory Board, volunteer residents and key town officials. Annually, this oversight board would identify monuments in need of restoration, using the restoration fund to accomplish these goals. Examples of potential restorations include: ensuring veteran graves remain clean and honorable, installing flag markers to identify key veteran monuments and erecting new monuments denoting Wakefield service and sacrifice. Like with the Wakefield Veteran Relief Fund, donating to this cause is as simple as adding the donation to annual tax payments. This would not raise taxes. It would give residents a local option.
Please see our presentation to town meeting or call us for more information. We believe these funds would create a sustainable mechanism for honoring our veterans and proving once again that Wakefield honors its military history.