Feb 07, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Senior citizens who live in the village of Cazenovia with an annual income of less than $32,000 can now receive up to a 50 percent reduction in their real estate taxes thanks to a new local law approved by the village board last week.
The new law “to amend the income limits for the Senior Citizens Real Property Tax Exemption” sets new income levels and exemption percentages to the existing law, which has not been updated in decades and therefore has not kept pace with inflation.
The village code currently allows senior citizens who make less than $18,500 per year to be eligible for a 50 percent reduction in their yearly assessment. Section 467 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law, however, allows municipalities to set the maximum income limit up to $29,000, as well as allows them to create a “sliding scale” of exemptions ranging from the base $29,000 income up to $36,499.99 for a 10 percent tax reduction.
Nobody realized the senior citizen tax exemption in the Cazenovia village code was so outdated until a local resident asked the village board to consider increasing the maximum income requirement, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler at the board’s regular December meeting. Since then, the board has investigated the issue and the income numbers and proposed an amended schedule for the tax exemption.
The proposed law changes the village’s exemption eligibility into a sliding scale where senior citizens with an annual income of $24,000 or less can apply for the full 50 percent exemption to their village real property taxes. The scale then reduces the exemption by 5 percent for every $1,000 of increased income up to the maximum allowed income of $31,999.99, which qualifies for a 10 percent tax exemption.
At its Feb. 3 regular monthly meeting, the board held a public hearing on the new law, during which no members of the public made comments.
Wheeler gave a brief explanation of the proposed law and said the annual income requirement for the exemption is determined by who is listed on the property title. The board then voted unanimously to approve the new local law amending the senior tax exemption rates.
Anyone interested in applying for the tax exemption must do so by state deadline of March 1. To apply, contact Cazenovia Assessor Bran Fitts at 655-5637 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His office hours at 7 Albany St. are 9 a.m. to 4p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tax exemption forms can be found online at villageofcazenovia.com/assessor.
Also at the meeting the board:
—Approved a request to put a sign on the Lakeland Park fence encouraging people to vote for Cazenovia in the Budget Travel “Coolest Small Towns in America” contest. They also waived the typical 10-day limit for signs on the fence, allowing the sign to remain up until the contest ends on Feb. 25.
—Scheduled its first two 2014 budget workshops for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, both at the village offices.
—Heard from Trustee and Police Commissioner Amy Mann and from Police Chief Michael Hayes that they have been interviewing candidates to fill the full-time officer positions currently vacant in the department. The board also unanimously approved the hiring of David Henessey as a new part-time officer.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.