SHIRLEY -- Selectmen Monday night agreed to continue the town's Senior Tax Work-Off Program for another year.

The Board of Assessors has allocated $25,000 from its overlay account to cover 1,000 hours for the fiscal 2014 Senior Tax Work-Off program, which offers a property tax reduction in lieu of pay for up to 25 participants. The pay rate on which the tax reduction is based is minimum wage, or $8 per hour.

Although the total number of hours is set at 1,000, the number or participants could be higher than 25 if hours for specific positions are split to accommodate more than one person, said Administrative Assistant Kathi Rocco, who helps administer the program.

The program is open to all town property owners who are at least 60 years old, with no income restrictions.

However, a change in policy since last year now clarifies whether members of town boards, commissions or committees, appointed or elected, may participate in the program. They cannot participate if the senior work-off positions in question are related to the areas in which they currently serve, constituting a conflict of interest or the appearance of one, Principal Assessor Rebecca Boucher said.

"But that doesn't mean they (committee members) are precluded from participating," in some other capacity, she said. "Just not in their own area."

Boucher explained how the selection process works. Department heads have senior work-off request forms and may select from a list of approved applicants with the skill-sets they're looking for. The goal is to match them up, she said.

The program has been so successful in making those matches that some participants stay on as volunteers in the departments they've been assigned to. Those wishing to participate may submit letters of interest, including a resume, to the Board of Assessors by Jan. 30, 2014.