By a vote of 6-0 with one abstention, the Rye City School Board at its November 4 election eve meeting okayed a motion that will save 252 veteran householders up to $1,980 a year in taxes.
By Sarah Varney
By a vote of 6-0 with one abstention, the Rye City School Board at its November 4 election eve meeting okayed a motion that will save 252 veteran householders up to $1,980 a year in taxes. Based on $1.77 per $1,000 of assessed property value, non-veteran taxpayers will see an increase of approximately $51 in their yearly bills.
Veterans fall into three different categories for exemptions. Those designated Wartime veterans will save $594 yearly, Combat Zone vets will receive a $990 reduction, and those who fall in the Disabled category will get a $1,980 break. The tax impact to the District is $221,248.
There are also 252 City property owners who already receive an exemption on their City taxes.
School Board member Karen Belanger abstained from the vote. At the October 21 meeting, Belanger expressed her distaste for Gov. Cuomo’s decision to pass on the costs of the 2013 Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption to local school districts. Unlike the Star Exemption, the state does not kick in any funds to offset the decrease in tax revenues. “While I personally am able to afford a somewhat higher tax bill to help out neighbors who are veterans, I do not feel comfortable making that decision for all Rye taxpayers,” said Belanger. “I took on this position to try and maintain an excellent education for the next generation while being fiscally responsible on behalf of all Rye taxpayers. I did not sign up to make a choice as to whether a single parent, a senior on a fixed income, an out-of-work homeowner, or a Vietnam veteran should contribute more or less to the education of the next generation than their neighbor.”
But Belanger’s abstention did nothing to dim the smiles of uniformed American Legion Post 128 members in the audience at the conclusion of the vote.
Before the vote, members of the Milton School custodial staff led by Billy Salisbury showed off a newly restored 48-star flag first discovered in a Milton School closet in 2004. Salisbury and fellow custodians Herman Garcia, Edwin Portillo, and Frank Reames took the initiative to restore and frame the flag after Salisbury rediscovered it this summer. They undertook the project at their own expense. The 48-star flag, which was lowered in 1957, when Alaska and Hawaii became states, will be hung over the entrance to the school library. “The four of us feel very fortunate to work at Milton and for Principal Dr. Nardone,” said Salisbury as he and former Milton School secretary Anne Moeller unveiled the framed flag.