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Split Board Approves Countywide Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 2/22/14 | 2/22/14

With months of controversy setting the stage for Friday's public hearing on tax abatements, Supervisors and concerned residents spent almost an hour and a half arguing the merits and pitfalls of two proposed local laws that if approved would put in place countywide exemptions for first time homebuyer construction and certain property improvements.

Arguing that the exemptions would, "get people to look at Schoharie County," Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon and others made the case for passing the local laws. On the flip side, Carlisle Town Supervisor Larry Bradt insisted there is, "no free lunch," and that abatements amounted to nothing more than, "a feel good law."

A majority of Supervisors disagreed. Casting two separate roll call votes on the abatement proposals, the county board approved Local Law #5 (property improvements) 1718-1009* with Mr. Barbic, Mrs. Bleau, Mr. Bradt, Mr. Federice and Mr. McAllister in opposition, while passing Local Law #6 (first time homebuyer) 2314-413*. 

Tax abatements entered the public discourse after the Town of Schoharie adopted them last fall. Since their town-wide enactment, Supervisor Gene Milone has spearheaded efforts to see them span not only the still-recovering Valley communities, but the county as a whole. The Village of Schoharie and the Town of Blenheim have recently approved their own versions of law, while the Towns of Esperance and Middleburgh have extensively considered them.  

It remains to be seen whether the abatements will truly, "draw families into our communities," as Mr. Milone stated forcefully before his colleagues Friday afternoon, or if Mr. Bradt's repeated warnings that they will end up costing local taxpayers in the long run, come to fruition. 

* - weighted vote
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Slackeyed said...

Here would have been a good place to describe which type of 'property improvements' are eligible, and what exactly is meant by a tax 'abatement', i.e. how much money it will save the typical homeowner.

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