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Letter to the Editor: Milone Makes Case for Abatements

Written By Editor on 2/14/14 | 2/14/14

Dear Editor, Neighbors and Friends,

Several months ago the Schoharie Town Board adopted four local laws pertaining to tax abatements. The first abatement deals with first time homebuyers or new construction. The second abatement pertains to home improvements for one or two family dwellings. The third abatement provides assistance with respect to living quarters for parents or grandparents 62 years of age or older and the fourth abatement speaks to conversion of non residential property to residential and commercial use. These tax abatements were adopted to encourage not only rehabilitation of homes affected by flooding, but any home that is in need of improvement. Also, taken into consideration was our desire to help our younger generation afford the American dream-a newly constructed home for first time homebuyers with a  5-year tax abatement. We did not forget parents and grandparents who are in need of living with family-giving an 8 year tax abatement on any additions built to existing homes for this purpose. These tax abatements represent opportunity as well as incentive to not only rebuild but to attract new families and businesses into our communities.

Just recently the Village Board of Schoharie also adopted these very tax abatements, the Town of Blenheim as well and the Towns of Middleburgh and Esperance are also considering their adoption. I and the members of the Schoharie Town Board have gone before the school board as well, calling for their participation in this program. I have also requested the Board of Supervisors adopt these tax abatements for Schoharie County simply because school and county taxes are among the largest that we pay.

Some individuals have said that these abatements will cause increased taxation to those of us who currently own homes and vacant land. That is a total misconception.  These abatements stand on their own with no additional cost to anyone. They hopefully will act as a catalyst to encourage new construction and upgrading, adding additional tax dollars to our tax base. 

Please be advised that there will be a Public Hearing on these tax abatements on Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:00PM in the Board of Supervisors Room, 3rd Floor of the Schoharie County Office Building.  It is my hope that all residents come and voice their opinions on this issue as well as have questions answered before the Board takes a vote on adopting or declining these tax abatements for Schoharie County. Clearly if understood, this is an opportunity for our county to open its doors and welcome new residents, lend some help to our children, safeguard our elderly and give our realtors a device to encourage development.  Every empty home, every vacant piece of land where a home was taken down and is now for sale, every vacant storefront has caused an increased tax burden to others. Give these abatements a chance to work.  We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 
Gene Milone,
Schoharie Town Supervisor
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