Schenectady County

Schenectady City Council considers tax break for Cold War vets

Thirty city residents could get a tax break next year.

Thirty city residents could get a tax break next year.

The City Council is considering adding a tax break for Cold War veterans at Tuesday’s meeting.

It would reduce their property assessment by 10 percent for tax calculation purposes, meaning that a house assessed at $100,000 would be reduced to $90,000 for tax purposes. At next year’s proposed tax rate of $13.34 per $1,000 of assessed property, the veteran with a $100,000 house would save $133.

Combat veterans have long been given a tax break, and Cold War veterans have lobbied for their break for many years. The state finally allowed municipalities the option of adding the break in 2008, but Schenectady never opted to do it. The county and all of the surrounding suburbs did add the break, leaving just 30 local veterans without it.

On Tuesday, they may get to sign up.

Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy told the City Council that the city would lose just $3,000 in taxes by offering a 10 percent assessment reduction to the veterans.

The council could also choose to offer a 15 percent tax break. Veterans who have a service-related disability rating from the Veterans’ Administration or the Department of Defense can get an additional deduction.

McCarthy urged the council to approve the tax break, arguing that $3,000 was a small amount of taxes to lose.

Councilman Joseph Allen agreed, adding: “I do know a few Cold War vets, including myself.”

Council members Tom Della Sala and Margaret King quickly agreed, giving the legislation enough votes to pass on Tuesday.

The state defines Cold War veterans as all those who performed military service from Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991. The reduction applies only to city and county taxes — not school taxes or fees. Veterans must apply at the Assessor’s Office at City Hall to receive the reduction.

The council will vote on the issue Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall. City offices will be closed today for the Columbus Day holiday.

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