NORWAY — The Board of Selectmen has decided to help the elderly offset the cost of their property taxes through a $10,000 donation from a former paving contractor.

M.L. “Jack” Gibson, former president of Commercial Paving and Recycling Co. in Portland, sold the company in 2004 after 59 years in the business. In the years since his retirement, he said he developed a charitable program designed to benefit towns.

In a letter to Town Manager David Holt, Gibson said, “I have not forgotten the loyalty and trust afforded me by the municipal officials and taxpayers of your community. Due to the present economic conditions, I feel it might be an appropriate time to institute this program.”

Holt said he, Selectwoman Irene Millett and town assessor Jodi Keniston met to discuss how to distribute the money, and after tossing around a number of ideas, including granting money for elderly dental work, they felt the best one was to offer about $1,000 to 10 elderly families who use the Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund program but need extra money to pay property taxes.

“We’re gearing it toward the elderly, 65 and older,” Millett said. They must be a homeowner for at least five years.

Millett said town officials believe many elderly need additional financial support but won’t ask for it.

“It’s going to be very simple and very basic,” she said. “We thought this would be a more effective way of using these resources,” she said.

Russ Newcomb made the motion to accept the money, saying there are about 30 to 40 applications for the Maine program from residents.

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