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Village raises minimum income levels for senior tax exemption

— 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Nobody realized the senior citizen tax exemption in the Cazenovia village code was so outdated until a local resident asked the village board to consider increasing the maximum income requirement, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler at the board’s regular December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.

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