COA to host final Senior Tax Rebate forum
Date: 5/1/2012April 30, 2012
By Chris Mazachrism@thereminder.com
LONGMEADOW The Council on Aging will host one final community meeting this week to discuss the Senior Tax Rebate proposal that will be voted upon at the Annual Town Meeting.
"The purpose of this meeting is to provide information to residents regarding the Senior Tax Proposal, which will be voted upon as Article 8 at the Town Meeting on May 8," Council on Aging Board of Directors Chair John Bowen told Reminder Publications
The meeting will take place on May 2 at 7 p.m. in the dining room at the Greenwood Adult Center.
The Senior Tax Rebate proposal is designed to act as a means of relief for senior citizens that own homes in Longmeadow, but struggle to pay their residential tax bills. It was created in the same vein as similar programs in two other Massachusetts communities.
"The wording is a combination of proposals from the towns of Sudbury and Hamilton, which were approved at their respective Town Meetings," Bowen said.
While the rebate programs that exist in Sudbury and Hamilton are somewhat costly, Bowen said that the Council on Aging has taken steps to lower the projected costs for Longmeadow.
"Sudbury allocated $300,000 for this rebate and Hamilton puts $175,000 toward it. We decided that those costs were too high for Longmeadow," he said. "We have added guidelines on age, income and residency in order to keep costs down. This proposal would allow the town to focus on the seniors in need at a reasonable cost to the town."
The guidelines require that applicants be residents 70 years of age and older who have lived in town for 10 years or more and have a total income of less than $35,000 a year as an individual or $39,000 a year as joint applicants.
Among the items to be discussed at the meeting are some amendments to the article that were agreed upon by Bowen, Selectmen Robert Aseltine, acting as liaison, and the Finance Committee at a recent meeting.
"Basically, the Finance Committee wanted clarification on a few points regarding residency, clearly defining income and a 'sunset provision' that states this will only be in effect for three years. Also, at their request we have eliminated the Circuit Breaker requirements for qualification," Bowen said.
The amendments will be made on the floor at Town Meeting.
"Rob Aseltine has been working with me on this and he is handling the creation of the language for the amendments and he will present them at Town Meeting," Bowen said.