As we near the end of 2013, I wanted to share some helpful information with you.

* If you are a homeowner in New York State currently receiving the Basic STAR Tax Exemption, you must re-register for this exemption with the New York State Department of Tax and Finance before the end of this year. Notices were sent out between August and October with instructions and a personalized PIN number for you to use for re-registration purposes. You can register by phone at 518-457-2036, or online.

In addition, you can call the same phone number listed above if you are not sure if you are re-registered and would like to check. You must re-register for STAR to continue receiving the Basic STAR Exemption. Enhanced STAR recipients do not need to re-register.

* Eligible households may now apply for New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for heating assistance. This program, funded by the federal government, provides up to $650 for eligible households to pay for energy costs. This is the first year that applications for HEAP can be submitted online at For more information on income guidelines and eligibility requirements, visit Emergency HEAP benefits will also be available beginning Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, and households in an energy emergency situation should contact their county Department of Social Services.

* New York State has been promoting its “Pride of New York” website, which can be found at This website can help you search for food and beverage products, as well as a variety of other items, which are locally grown or produced in New York State. Shopping local supports our friends, family, and neighbors, and this website is beneficial to find locally sourced products.

* A new alert system has been implemented for victims of domestic violence to notify them when Family Court orders of protection are served. These alerts will enhance victim safety and be sent through the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Network System, which can instantly notify victims with crucial information. A person can sign up for these alerts at, by clicking on the “Orders of Protection” link of the left-hand column of the website.

* If you know of any local high school or college students looking for an internship in government, my District Office in Ossining has openings. This unpaid internship offers students a first-hand look at how a state legislative office is run. Interns will have the opportunity to write proclamations and news releases, assist in legislative research, and help with various upcoming events. Anyone interested should contact Dana Levenberg in my office at 914-941-1111 or at [email protected].

I hope this information will be useful to you in the upcoming months. Enjoy the rest of 2013.

Sandy Galef
Member of Assembly

Behind The Story

Type: Opinion

Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

This piece is by a contributor to The Current who is not on staff. Typically this is because it is a letter to the editor or a guest column.