The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 10, 2010

FinCom looks at senior services

The Carlisle Council on Aging (COA) discussed its FY12 budget with the Finance Committee on November 29. The budget for the fiscal year starting next July 1 would pay about $90K in wages for four part-time workers and about $14.4K for program, office and other expenses if funded at the level of this year (FY11). All but $220 of a possible 2% increase would be used to increase wages (about $1,900). The presentation also provided details on grants and other assistance from state agencies, the Lowell Regional Transit Authority, Community Chest and Friends of the COA.

COA paid staff include a director and outreach coordinator, both at 30 hours weekly, a transportation coordinator for 19 hours weekly (increased from 11), part-time drivers for about 15 hours weekly (as needed), a social worker for up to six hours weekly (as needed). In addition, a monthly stipend is paid to format the newsletter.

Unmet needs discussed at the meeting include better quality meals for homebound elderly and finding a place where seniors can meet for program activities. Several FinCom members urged COA leaders and Selectmen to develop a long-term plan for the growing senior population. A primary goal for the Selectmen this year is “to figure how to keep seniors in town,” Selectman Doug Stevenson said.

Senior Tax Voucher Program

A proposed increase in funding for the Senior Tax Voucher Program was discussed by the FinCom on December 6. Last year, 23 older residents earned some credit toward their Carlisle property tax under the program, managed by the COA with oversight by a Senior Tax Advisory Council. This is “one of the few mechanisms [available] to provide some senior tax relief,” Finance Director Larry Barton told FinCom, but the funding for this year was insufficient to cover everyone who applied to participate. Thus the advisory group will ask for about $6,000 to expand the program from 16 to 25 positions for FY12.

Older residents work as “paid volunteers” – as crossing guards, library workers, at the Fire, Public Works, or Recreation Department or for the Council on Aging – and are credited with minimum wage for the hours worked up to a limit of $700 established by statute. Last year, to accommodate all who applied, positions were split into fewer hours, so no applicants earned the maximum credit available. ∆

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