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Local Government – Bensalem Township

Dept of Revenue: Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms Now Available

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Forms for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for 2019 rebates are now available the Department of Revenue announced earlier this week.

“More than half a million seniors and people with disabilities save on the rent or property taxes they paid by receiving a rebate through this program,” said Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell.

“We want to encourage everyone who is eligible to apply so that they can benefit from the program,” Hassle said.

Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information on the Department of Revenue’s website or by calling 1-888-222-9190.

It’s free to apply for a rebate, and the department reminds applicants  free assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including Department of Revenue district officeslocal Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices.

Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because rebates are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid in each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of claimants who lived at least one day in 2019 and meet all other eligibility criteria.

Eligible participants of the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2019. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with permanent disabilities.

Eligibility income limits for homeowners are set at the following levels, excluding 50% of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits:

  • $0 to $8,000, maximum $650 rebate (homeowners and renters).
  • $8,001 to $15,000, maximum $500 rebate (homeowners and renters).
  • $15,001 to $18,000, maximum $300 rebate (homeowners only).
  • $18,001 to $35,000, maximum $250 rebate (homeowners only).

Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available at no cost. Applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims. The deadline to apply for a rebate is June 30.

More than $255 million in property tax and rent rebates were sent to almost 532,000 homeowners and renters across the state for property taxes and rent paid in 2017. This is the most recent data available for a full calendar year.

Since its inception in 1971, an estimated $6.8 billion has been paid to qualified applicants through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.

“One of the most important jobs that we have at the Department of Revenue is processing applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program,” Hassell said. “We take a lot of pride in helping people who rely upon the rebates they receive. Please visit our website or give us a call if you need help with your application.”

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

PECO: Treefall Causes Damage to Powerline, Roadblocks in Bristol

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A PECO power line pole in Bristol Township went down calling out area first responders Sunday night causing road blockages on Rt 13 and surrounding the area.

Bristol area first responders shut down access to Bath Road from Beaver Dam to Bristol Commerce Park, from Rt 13 and Bath St and even closed a small two block section of Bath Street in Bristol Borough from Buckley Street, to Rt 13.

Credit: Motorcycle Joe

PECO confirmed a fire-police call was initiated and their crews responded to the scene. They deemed the area safe from their standpoint and no outages in Bristol were reported, a spokesperson said.

Initial unconfirmed reports coming into Lower Bucks Source were a powerline pole caught fire.

The PECO Outage Map, as of 8:15 pm noted two outages in the Bristol -Bensalem area currently with over a dozen customers impacted.

There were no reported injuries.

In an unrelated incident, PECO said the Bensalem area is experiencing an outage and work crews are on-site with power restoration estimated to be four hours.

Efforts to reach area first responders for comment on the outage and reported fire were unsuccessful as of 8:35 pm

Updates as they come in

Credit: Motorcycle Joe

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Giant Donates 15,000 Thanksgiving Turkeys to Community Partners

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Today, The GIANT Company announced it will donate a record number of 15,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to food banks and community partners in the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia communities it serves.

“Since 1923, The GIANT Company has been committed to helping its communities eliminate hunger year-round, but it’s especially important this time of the year to ensure that everyone can enjoy a warm holiday meal with their loved ones,” said John Ruane, president, The GIANT Company. “This year’s donations will deliver more than 125,000 servings of protein to families while creating moments to connect around the table.”

Turkeys will be donated to nearly 40 local food banks and community partners across its footprint. The GIANT Company team members will once again volunteer at food banks packing hunger relief boxes and organizing and restocking shelves in advance of the busy holiday season.

“We are extremely grateful for corporate partners like The GIANT Company for all they do in support of our work to feed the hungry in Berks and Schuylkill counties,” said David Delozier, chief development officer, Helping Harvest. “Together with their generous gifts and volunteer support we are able to make a difference for thousands of children, families, and seniors in our region.”

Customers are also invited to join efforts to combat local food insecurity this November. From Nov. 10 through Nov. 23, customers can also donate free turkey certificates at the register in-store to a local food bank. In addition, customers can purchase reusable bags to benefit Feeding America®.

For more information on the turkey redemption program, including how to donate your turkey certificate, visit giantfoodstores.com/pages/free-turkey-earn.

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Health - Bristol Township

Family Services Plans Buildout, Redevelopment of Levittown Shelter

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The Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter in Bristol Township operated by, Family Services Association (FSA), is planning to expand, overhaul, and build new facilities  

the nonprofit has been working on a plan to expand the shelter and provide better services to those experiencing housing displacement, officials say. 

“We have been thinking about how to make the shelter better,” said Julie Dees, the CEO of FSA, during an appearance at the October Bristol Township Council meeting. She was on hand seeking Council’s approval to submit a Statewide Local Share
Assessment Grant to the Department of Community and Economic Development
(DCED) for the Shelter in the amount of $ 1 million which they did.

Dees said, the shelter currently serves about 80 people, including children and has a wait list of more than 200 people.

The men’s dorm barely fits 20 guests, with cots lining right and left walls, and a narrow walking path leads to three bathrooms. The open space floor plan for the women’s side of the facility, where children stay, also presents all all sorts of issues, which the redevelopment will help solve with the creation of private rooms for guests, `Dees said.

The redevelopment plans consist of constructing a new two-story structure in front of the current site. The first floor would be for medical offices, case management and childcare services, the second floor would house 30 individual rooms with bathrooms for guests. 

The first floor of the building would be open to the public, she said.

The current shelter would remain open while renovations take place to increase living spaces also. It will also continue to house the cafeteria the largest common area space in the facility. 

The current communal living design is “not ideal,” and FSA wants to create a more “dignified” guest experience, Dees said.

Dees said about $7 million is already secured for the project, with the total cost expected to be in the $10 to $15 million range. 

“There’s such a need for a new and improved version of the shelter,” she said.

Dees also pointed out The new space would allow FSA to lease out parts of the first floor of the new building to bring in revenue. Adding the shelter often operates at yearly loss of  about $385,000.00 due to lack of onsite billable service offerings. 

With the anticipated new space, FSA will be able to provide on site many of the mental health substance abuse related services it provides at their Langhorne branch, Dee said.  

The proposed new building still has to go through the land development approval. FSA took over operations of the shelter 2012 from the American Red Cross.

FSA plans to hold a community meeting at the Levittown Library on November 17 for a more detailed discussion on the redevelopment project.

This is Bucks County’s only 24/7 shelter and is located in Bristol Township’s Levittown section. The property around and adjacent to the Shelter that’s owned and operated by Bucks County is also being redeveloped. Ground was broken  on that project in September

A possible indirect benefit for FSA’s expansion project is the where the new two-story building would be, now the parking lot. Homeless folks who are not “guests” at the Shelter often park their vehicles in the facilities lot. Oftentimes living out of cars, trucks, vans or often abandoning them in the lot. It has been an issue for staff to deal with in the past, officials have said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project is expected to take about three years to complete, Dees said, once all the funding and approvals are secured. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We have been thinking about how to make the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter better,” said Dees.

 

 

The new building and renovation of the existing facility would be part of a rebound for the site, which sits a few yards away from the new Lower Bucks County Government Services Center.

 

Council President Craig Bowen and Councilperson Patrick Antonello both spoke in support of the project.

The proposed new building still has to go through the land development process.

The Family Service Association plans to hold a community meeting at the Levittown Library on November 17.

 

 

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