June 12, 2014

P'burgh City School talks veterans exemption

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh City School Board is expected to vote later this month on whether to allow a veterans exemption.

A non-binding poll, conducted of district voters during the May budget vote, revealed that 61 percent of the 709 participants were in favor of shifting some of the school's property-tax levy away from military veterans.


Voters were also asked at which of 11 levels they would support the new tax breaks.

Thirty percent opted for the lowest tier, which grants tax exemptions of $6,000 to wartime veterans, with an additional $4,000 going to those who fought in a combat zone, and $20,000 total to disabled veterans.

The highest exemption level was chosen by 18 percent of voters, making it the second most popular. It allows for tax breaks of $36,000 (wartime), with $24,000 more for combat zone and $120,000 total for the disabled category.

The remaining nine tiers each received between 1 and 9 percent of the votes.


After the results were distributed at a recent School Board meeting, board member Ronald Marino suggested they consider offering the Level 5 exemption, which grants tax breaks of $18,000 wartime, with $12,000 more for combat zone and $60,000 total for disabled veterans.

While 30 percent of voters recommended exemptions at the minimum level, he noted, 70 percent opted for higher levels.

Therefore, Marino continued, it seems Level 5 would satisfy most people.

"It’s certainly not the highest and certainly not the lowest and not even right in the middle," he said. "It’s slightly lower than the middle.”

Board member Dr. David Stone indicated support for Marino's suggestion during the session; however, the rest of the board did not.


"To me, the community is telling us, ‘Yes, we want it, but we want it at (exemption level) No. 1,'" Board Vice President Tracy Rotz told meeting attendees.

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