WINCHESTER - The Select Board agreed to assist low-income seniors through the circuit-breaker fund by setting the tax emption to 150 percent of the state circuit-breaker fund (or $1,725 off their property taxes).
Assessor Dan McGurl said this move wouldn't negatively affect the budget or the tax rate for other residents.
"We don't have many applying," he noted, adding that many people opt in and out.
Originally, it appeared the board would match the tax exemption at 100 percent of the state circuit breaker, but Select Board member Mariano Goluboff said 150 percent when making the motion. After some clarification, the board elected to go with 150 percent.
Select Board member Michael Bettencourt said he felt comfortable with the staff recommendation (which was 100 percent, but he supported the increase) and asked how the town could alert seniors. The assessor said through a Jenks Center newsletter and by mailing applications to those who qualify.
This plan comes courtesy of the state passing a senior property tax emption and the governor signing it into law in December of 2019. This means the town can now match the senior circuit-breaker tax plan currently implemented by the state - which is a tax relief program for low-income seniors to receive a tax credit on their income taxes - from 50 percent up to 200 percent.
To qualify, a senior must earn $58,000 or less (or $88,000 or less for a married couple filing jointly), their home value cannot exceed $778,000, they must be 65 years of age or older, and their property tax payment when combined with their water & sewer bill must be 10 percent of their total tax bill.