Forgoes consideration of a higher exemption until next year
By Kevin E. Foley
The Haldane Board of Education (BOE) voted this week to allow for a partial property tax exemption for homeowners who are veterans of the United States military. The board voted unanimously Tuesday night (Feb. 10) to put into effect the minimum level of exemption permitted under the new state law authorizing exemptions.
After state legislative approval, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the new state law in December 2013. Veterans were already eligible for a partial exemption for town property taxes. The state government did not offer any funding options to accompany the range of tax exemption options local school districts have.
Last week the BOE had signaled their approval after a public hearing at which only veterans turned out to support the exemption move. The BOE also said they were considering a new hearing regarding a possible move to the highest level of exemption but apparently thought differently about that idea this week.
Anne Dinio, the Haldane school district’s business manager, confirmed to The Paper that the board had voted for the most basic level for this tax year and will consider revisiting the issue next year. She said the board was concerned with fairness to both veterans and non-veteran taxpayers.
If eligible, under the BOE decision a veteran homeowner could save an estimated average of $192 on property taxes, with a combat veteran saving $320 and a disabled veteran $639.
It is estimated that the average increase to a property tax bill to account for the veterans’ exemption, with a home assessed at $200,000 (market value at approximately $430,00), would be $21. The state government has not yet determined this year’s level of aid to school districts, so the board exercised caution as to the total increase needed to fund the schools.
Under the state law, eligible veterans are defined as those who served during a period of war, those who did not serve during a period of war but received an expeditionary medal from one of the branches of service, or members of the reserves meeting additional qualifications.