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June 20, 2014

City School OKs veterans exemptions

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh City School District will offer tax exemptions to military veterans beginning in 2015-16.  

At Thursday night’s meeting, the School Board voted 5 to 2 in favor of granting the tax breaks at the lowest level. 

This will allow exemptions of $6,000 for wartime veterans, with an additional $4,000 for those who fought in a combat zone, and $20,000 total for disabled veterans.

Board President Leisa Boise, Vice President Tracy Rotz and board members Ron Marino, Robert Hall and Steve Krieg voted in favor of the new tax breaks, while board members Clayton Morris and Fred Wachtmeister voted against them.

Board members Dr. David Stone and Amelia Goerlitz were not present.

Just before the vote, Wachtmeister, who said during a session earlier this month that he would vote in favor of the exemptions, stated that he would, in fact, vote “no.” 

Morris said that while he initially supported the tax breaks, he, too, had decided to vote against them after speaking with his nephew and father-in-law, who have both served.

His nephew, he said, told him the exemptions were of no use to him, as he would never buy a house. And his father-in-law, Morris noted, stated that he had not gone to war so that his grandchildren could pay a portion of his taxes.

“There are people out there that are vets that deserve this,” Morris said. “They deserve something. 

“But this doesn’t get to them. It really doesn’t. And then, it does also put a burden on others.”

Marino also spoke before the vote, saying that he had toyed with the idea of voting against the tax breaks, not to dishonor veterans, but because he would like to see the district offer the exemptions at a higher level.

However, he noted, he decided to support the Level 1 exemptions “because it’s a step.”

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