HARVARD -- Rick Maiore, representing the Elderly & Disabled Taxation Aid Committee, came to the selectmen on a recent Wednesday morning with two warrant articles for the spring Town Meeting that he asked the board to send to town counsel for review.
They're looking to change the make-up of the committee, he said.
Currently made up of the Board of Assessors' chairman, town treasurer and three appointed members from the community, with membership criteria set by state law, the committee wants to choose its own members, Maiore explained. Rather than the assessor, who would step down, the group would seat the Council on Aging Director, who isn't a town resident and can't be appointed now.
It makes sense, Maiore told the board, because the assessors are not part of the process, although the treasurer -- who is also the town tax collector -- is. And the COA director's role is obviously key.
When Selectman Tim Clark asked for clarification on the assessment point, Maiore explained that there's no value abatement involved.
As Lucy Wallace pointed out, the tax bills of residents approved by the committee to receive funding do not change; and the amount due remains the same, but the donation-supported program kicks in toward the payment, providing some relief.
The committee's mission will not change, but if the articles pass, it would become a town body rather than operating under the provisions of Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 60,
Other than ensuring that the move is legal, Maiore said the only potential downside the committee could foresee was loss of the check-off contribution option, which would allow taxpayers to check a box on their tax bills to contribute to the taxation relief fund. Not much of a loss, apparently, since Maiore said it's never been used anyway.
In other business, Bruce Dolimount was appointed to fill one of two Council on Aging vacancies, term to expire in 2014.
Connie Larrabee introduced Dolimount as the COA's candidate. He's been to a number of meetings, she said and the board thinks he'll be an asset. One of the "interesting ideas" he has posed is to start a men's cooking class, she said.
Dolimount, for his part, said he has been a cemetery commissioner for 20 years, serves on the Pastoral Care Committee at Leominster Hospital and has helped a relative to develop "effective" senior programs in another community.
He said seniors sometimes have "simple" rather than complex concerns that are selfless, such as whether a beloved cat will be cared for. Targeting a subgroup in the elder community, he said men on their own tend not to prepare good meals for themselves. "Single guys don't know how to cook," he said, but he could teach them.
"I feel I can contribute..." he said.
The board voted four to one to appoint him. Tim Clark said no.