Press-Republican

Education

January 19, 2014

City School considers veterans exemption

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh City School District is considering offering a school-tax exemption to military veterans.

Real-property tax law has allowed each of the state’s counties, cities, towns and villages the option of exempting veterans from property taxes for a number of years, but the allowance was only recently given to school districts.

“In the third week of November, the governor signed an amendment, which extended it to apply to school taxes,” City School Associate Superintendent Jay Lebrun told the School Board at a recent meeting.

In order to affect the upcoming year’s school taxes, the board would have to authorize the exemption by March 1.

TAX-BURDEN SHIFT

Lebrun explained that exemptions essentially create a shift in the tax burden.

“These have existed in various forms in this jurisdiction and others for many years on the land-tax side, and effectively ... they remove the burden from one group and redistribute it to an often much larger group,” he said.

City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short told the board at the meeting he had initially thought it might be best to put a proposition before voters during the May budget vote and allow the community to decide whether to offer the exemption.

However, given the March deadline, he noted, it falls on the board to make the decision.

The program classifies veterans as wartime, combat zone and disabled, with disabled veterans eligible for the highest exemption and wartime, the lowest.

“The maximum exemption amounts within the City of Plattsburgh for these three categories are $27,000, $45,000 and $90,000,” Lebrun told Short and the School Board in a memorandum that he also shared with the Press-Republican. 

“For the third category, disabled, the ultimate exemption amount is driven by the veteran’s percentage of disability up to the $90,000 maximum limit.”

WOULD ALTER TAX RATE

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