South Thomaston adopts new General Assistance regulations
South Thomaston — The Board of Selectmen has adopted new General Assistance criteria to be in line with changes in the state law recently handed down.
Town administrative assistant Barbara Black introduced the changes following a public hearing at the June 19 selectmen's meeting. The board opened the public hearing at 6 p.m. in the municipal building and closed it about 10 minutes later after no one spoke.
Black said the changes have come about because of the new law. Municipalities are required to provide public assistance to eligible residents to help with food, clothing or shelter.
"It's not going to affect South Thomaston, because we're a small town," she said. "It's more applicable to large cities like Portland or Lewiston," she said.
The new ordinance affects not only funds for food purchases but also for the housing limit, she said. The ordinance will be in effect from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013.
The changes limit the number of months General Assistance can pay for housing, she said. "The time frame has been shortened."
"It doesn't pertain to South Thomaston, because we're so small," she reiterated.
Black said that she does not recall that anyone in South Thomaston ever received housing benefits under General Assistance.
"Of course, everything is confidential," she said.
Under the new regulations, the benefits of a single person living in a household have dropped from $582 to $524 a month; funds for a two-person household would go from $770 to $693; and money for a three-person household would drop from $879 to $791.
The figures are unique to Knox County, Black explained, and could vary in other counties.
The selectmen in a 3-0 vote adopted the new regulations.