Scotia-Glenville school board hearing set on senior tax break

Sunday, February 10, 2013
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— The Scotia-Glenville Board of Education will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposal to increase income limits for senior property tax exemptions.

Income limits for the program currently range from $18,000 to $25,500 and have not been increased since 2002. Under the proposal, any district resident age 65 and older with an income of $18,500 or less can receive a 50 percent exemption on their school tax bills. The amount of the exemption decreases by 5 percent for each additional $1,000 of income up to a maximum income of $25,999, at which level a homeowner would receive a 10 percent reduction in their tax bill.

Seniors with incomes above $25,999 would not receive this exemption but would continue to be eligible for the Enhanced STAR program. It is possible for an individual to qualify for both the senior citizen exemption and the Enhanced STAR program, depending on their incomes, according to school officials.

The hearing will take place at 6 p.m. at Scotia-Glenville Middle School.

Because there hasn’t been an increase in more than a decade, some people’s incomes may have gotten too high in the past 10 years to qualify for the exemption. A concerned resident brought the matter to the board’s attention last fall.

Superintendent Susan Swartz said the district is trying to be sensitive to the needs of the community with this proposed change.

“I believe the board certainly recognizes that these are difficult times for many of our community members, particularly our seniors, and want to begin to address that,” she said.

Swartz added that the board wants to look at these exemptions yearly and adjust them, if needed, in an incremental fashion.

These new limits wouldn’t be as high as the county’s senior tax exemption.

Business Manager Andrew Giaquinto presented information to the board showing that the county scale ranges from a 50 percent exemption for seniors whose income is less than $29,000 down to a 5 percent exemption for a senior whose income is more than $36,500 but less than $37,400.

The Mohonasen, Niskayuna and Schalmont and Schenectady school districts match their exemption income schedules with the county. The Duanesburg Central School District and the town of Glenville do not, according to Giaquinto.

Increasing the income limits essentially would take more property off the tax rolls and shift more of the tax burden to other residents. Swartz said there is no way of knowing what the effect would be on people’s taxes because the various assessors do not have data about age and income.

Under the current income limits, $7.3 million of assessed property value has been taken off the tax rolls because of these senior exemptions.

The board needs to act on the issue because the deadline for people to file exemptions is March 1 for the following year’s school tax bill.

 

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