Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 15, 2014

Veterans exemptions debated

By Kaley Lynch kaley.lynch@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — PENDLETON — The Starpoint Central school board will decide by summer whether to adopt a new state law aimed at giving military veterans a break on school taxes.

The New York State Veterans School Tax Exemption would reduce the amount of assessed value on which veteran homeowners are taxed by the school district. If adopted by the district, a 15 percent exemption would go to veterans who served in a time of war and a 25 percent exemption would go to veterans who served in a combat zone. An additional exemption would go to veterans with service-related disabilities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the law into effect in late December. It’s up to individual school districts whether they want to participate in the program.

Other taxpayers would make up the difference in school taxes, Jonathan Andrews, Starpoint’s director of administrative services, said at a Monday board meeting.

“While we definitely want to honor and respect our veterans, the state isn’t making up the balance of the money (veterans) would be saving,” he said.

The Starpoint tax rate increased by 1.7 percent from 2012-2013 to 2013-2014, he said. Incorporating the veterans exemption would drive the rate increase up to 3.82 percent.

A household assessed at $100,000 in the district saw an increase of $37 in school taxes for the 2013-2014 school year. With the veterans exemptions, the increase would be $83, Andrews said.

To effect the exemptions in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the school board would need to adopt the state law by August. The board is looking into alternative reductions for veterans, Andrews said.

Contact reporter Kaley Lynch at 439-9222 ext. 6245