Senior citizens in the Scotia-Glenville Central School District will get a bigger break on their property taxes if they meet income guidelines.
The Board of Education on Tuesday approved a proposal to increase the income ranges to qualify for a property tax exemption of up to a 50 percent. Any district resident age 65 and older with an income of $18,500 or less can receive a 50 percent exemption on his school tax bills. The amount of the exemption gradually decreases 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.
This current income ranges of $18,000 to $25,500 have not been increased since 2002. School officials were prompted to raise the limits because inflation has resulted in some people no longer meeting the criteria.
District spokesman Robert Hanlon said people who currently do not have the exemption need to apply through their town assessor by March 1. “Most folks may already get it and will be bumped into a different percentage because of the $500 per level increase, but folks at the top who haven’t gotten it would need to apply,” he said.
Seniors with incomes above $25,999 do not qualify for 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 board was trying to be responsive to the needs of the community. Other municipalities have bumped up their exemption levels in recent years. Scotia-Glenville’s new exemption schedule wouldn’t be as high as Schenectady County’s, which sets 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 between $36,500 and $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.
This change will shift more of the tax burden onto other property owners. Scotia-Glenville officials have said they are not sure what the exact impact will be.
With this exemption issue resolved, the board will turn its full attention to the budget. Last year, more than 72 percent of voters approved the district’s $47.8 million 2012-2013 spending plan.