PARIS — A special town meeting will be held to vote on changes to the town’s General Assistance ordinance that outline stricter requirements for eligibility to the program.

General Assistance is a statewide program operated by municipalities that offers assistance to families and individuals in need, sometimes referred to as the safety net of last resort.

According to a memo from the Paris General Assistance administrator Shannon Moxcey, changes to the GA program made by the Maine Legislature last year create additional restrictions on who is eligible to receive GA and how much applicants may receive.

The town needs to amend its own GA ordinance to reflect the changes made at the state level, Town Manager Amy Bernard explained at a public hearing about the changes Monday. Except in a few specific instances, changes to a town ordinance must be approved by voters, either at the ballot or a town meeting.

The new rules make fugitives from justice and those who are ineligible for unemployment benefits because of they have committed fraud ineligible for GA.

In addition, the “tax fairness credit,” which replaced the “Circuit Breaker” program, will be counted as income for eligibility and lump-sum payments will now be prorated at actual costs for basic needs when assessing the eligibility of a client, Moxcey said.

There were no comments or questions from a handful of people who attended Monday’s brief public hearing on the ordinance changes. Selectmen have set Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. for the special town meeting to vote on the changes. The meeting will be held at the Town Office.

Board Chairman Bob Kirchherr said he did not think there would be much opposition to the changes, which are required by state law.

“It’s driven by statute; it’s not driven by us,” Kirchherr said.

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