This winter, low income seniors and residents with disabilities are encouraged to ask the Town to give them a break on taxes.
The re-formed Taxation Aid Committee will be accepting newly simplified applications next month.
Eligible applicants can get up to $2,500 per fiscal year to be credited directly to their real estate tax accounts.
Chair Elizabeth Kesselman spoke at last week’s Board of Selectmen Meeting.
There was no direct explanation for why the committee (authorized in 2002) had recently been dormant. But Treasurer Brian Ballantine revealed that in past years there had only been one applicant. And Kesselman indicated that residents who need help may have found the previous application form daunting.
The Chair said that the committee simplified the new form. They are looking for people to easily apply, then come in and talk to them.
In past years, residents could apply at any time. This year, the committee is looking for applications only during the month of February.
Kesselman explained that the taxes defrayed can only be paid for by voluntary donations via the Taxation Aid Fund. Currently, the committee has $30K available. Before campaigning for more donations, they want to see the response they get for this cycle.
BOS Vice Chair Marty Healey asked about the requirement that residents live in town for at least 5 years. Treasurer Brian Ballantine, who is on the committee, explained that he recommended that rule based on rules for other Town programs. Healey wondered if the length was arbitrary for someone who lives here and needs the help.
Kesselman pointed out that the application also allows them to make exceptions. At the bottom of the form it clarifies:
The Committee reserve it’s right to determine unusual cases and if documented and by unanimous vote may allow for applications outside the stated limits.
As for those “stated limits” the form states that to be eligible:
a You must own and currently occupy your residence in Southborough for 5 or more consecutive years;
b You or your spouse must be minimum 65 years of age;
OR you have a “state-recognized disability.”
c Income cannot exceed $30,000 per individual; $60,000 for total household per year;
The committee is putting information up in the Library and at the Senior Center. They also agreed to speak with Senior Center staff and Youth and Family Services.
If you are interested in applying, forms are due by February 29th. (You can open an application here.)