taxes

A bill allowing schools to include a veterans' tax exemption was met with hesitation by many school boards this past year. A second one, not yet passed, is aimed at including another exemption.

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Voorheesville has approved its tax warrant, and school taxes have increased about 1 percent since last year.

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The change to a tax-assessment reduction for veterans was pushed for by Knox resident Edward Ackroyd. It passed on June 10 with four votes in favor and one abstention.

Eligible residents will be able to have their assessed property values reduced by a maximum of $12,000 for wartime service, and larger amounts for those with combat service and disabilities. 

Interim Superintendent Lonnie Palmer recommended the school board make cuts and share services to reduce non-instructional costs at Berne-Knox-Westerlo and offset spending on training for teachers and additional instructors.

With the option of extending the alternative veterans' tax exemption to school taxes, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school board held a public hearing on the question but hasn't yet taken a vote.

If an elderly Knox farmer can't sell enough Christmas trees to meet the $10,000 mark for a tax reduction, she could lose her farm. The law should be changed to let aging farmers keep working their land.

Rensselaerville assessor Donna Kropp was the subject of an ethics case last year — ultimately determined to be unfounded due to missing files — brought by a complaint of Jeffry Pine, a former assessor for the town who is now  running against her in the upcoming election.

To the Editor:

To curb fraud, homeowners will now have to register to get school tax relief in 2014.

The New York State Tax Department has a new online STAR (School TAx Relief) Registration platform for homeowners currently receiving the Basic STAR property tax exemption.

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