Friday, March 28, 2003
The Carlisle Board of Selectmen has accepted several Warrant articles that will offer voters the opportunity to increase tax assistance for senior citizens.
First, an article will ask to reauthorize the Senior Tax Voucher Program, which was begun this year. This program allows qualifying residents aged 60 or over to earn up to $500 in real estate tax credits by working in town departments. Town administrator Madonna McKenzie said the program is working smoothly so far.
Recent changes in state law provide more options in defining real estate tax exemptions for seniors. Those changes must be approved at Town Meeting. The options before Carlisle voters include: lowering the eligible age from 70 to 65 years, increasing the annual income limits to $20,000 per year for single taxpayers and $30,000 for married couples, and raising the limits on other assets (excluding a residence) to $40,000 for single taxpayers and $55,000 for married couples. Another option is to allow these monetary limits to rise with the cost of living as determined by the state commissioner of revenue and the consumer price index.
Town Meeting can approve a maximum real estate tax exemption of up to $1,000. McKenzie said that about 15 additional seniors would qualify for tax exemptions if the new options are approved, for a total impact of $15,000 in the town's tax revenue for FY04.
Additional tax relief is provided by the fund for low-income elderly and disabled, authorized at last year's Town Meeting. This fund receives voluntary contributions and a check-off box for this purpose is being mailed with Carlisle's real estate tax bills. The donated money is then distributed by the senior tax advisory committee.
© 2003 The