SHIRLEY — Planning Board Administrator Anna MacDonald used to work 30 hours a week, but when town finances got tight a few years ago, her hours were cut to 20.
Now, given the administrator’s reduced time on the job, it’s challenging to get everything done on time, MacDonald said at the recent meeting. And it could be even more so as the Real Estate market improves and developers start eyeing local building projects.
Unlike a couple of requests the board heard Wednesday night, which strictly speaking were more about zoning, new construction is Planning Board business.
Ideally, the five to six member board needs its 30-hour position back, Chairman Jonathan Greeno said. Absent that, they could use at least one pair of helping hands from the Senior Tax Work off Program.
For now, they’re looking for 10 hours a week, MacDonald said.
The Senior Tax Work off Program – paid for from the Assessors’ overlay account – provides targeted volunteer assistance to town departments for specified numbers of hours, with the total tied to the amount of money available to fund the program each year. In return, the volunteers get a break on their property taxes based on minimum wage for the hours they work.
Many municipalities, including local towns, have implemented the Senior Tax Workoff Program as a provision of state law, some with income requirements, some without. In Shirley, the only criteria are that participants must be of a certain age to qualify as “seniors,” with a skill set that a town department can use.
It is not intended to bypass the need to fill a position, nor are program participants expected to act as stand-ins for employees. The program is administered by the selectmen’s office.