WINCHESTER - The Winchester Select Board last week approved changes to the Council on Aging’s Senior Citizen Community Service Reimbursement Program that allows seniors over 60 years of age to work 125 hours a year within town dedicated sites (schools, libraries, Town Hall, COA, etc.) to earn a property tax reduction providing that they meet program guidelines of adjusted gross income and property valuation.

Phillip Beltz, Council on Aging Director, asked for an increase to the income level based on cost of living adjustment to $60,000 for a single person and $91,000 for a couple. In a memo, Beltz wrote how the COA annually requests that its financial counselor review the income guidelines and property valuation (after a consultation with Assessor Dan McGurl) and make recommendations for program guidelines for the forthcoming year.

The program runs July 1, 2019 and ends on June 30, 2020 for seniors to work their 125 hours.

In addition to the COA financial counselor’s recommendations, Beltz wrote, Town Manager Lisa Wong, McGurl and Town Treasurer Sheila Tracy offered input and suggestions.

The $60,000 increase the board approved constitutes a $1,000 increase over the previous amount and the $91,000 increase approved constitutes a $2,000 increase over the previous amount. Other changes include raising the assessed property value not to exceed $1,076,250 from the current $1,025,000 as the average tax assessment has increased by five percent and raising the property tax reduction/program reimbursement to $1,500 from the current $1,250.

“It is anticipated that the increase in adjusted gross income, property valuation and program reimbursement will serve as additional incentives to maximize participation,” Beltz wrote.

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