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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label tax abatements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tax abatements. Show all posts

Abatement Info Available on County Website

Written By Editor on 3/8/14 | 3/8/14

Following the successful passage of two controversial local laws that offer exemptions to first-time home buyer construction and existing homeowner repairs, Schoharie County's web team has added a section on the county website that seeks to address both resident concerns and questions regarding the recently adopted abatement package. 

Including separate pdf documents to read the local laws contents and information in their entirety, the web section also has downloadable applications and instructions for homeowners interested in utilizing the county wide tax exemptions.

The local laws, which were originally adopted in the Town of Schoharie and spearheaded for approval on the county level by Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone, passed on a split vote at the February Board of Supervisors meeting. Opponents argued the laws will end up costing existing homeowners down the road, while supporters insist it will lessen their financial burden by broadening the tax base. 

Opinion: Abatements Offer Welcomed Incentives

Written By Editor on 2/24/14 | 2/24/14

     Schoharie County Supervisors voted solidly Friday afternoon to approve two local laws that offer generous tax assessment exemptions to first time home-buyer construction and specific home improvements. Good, it was the right decision - as Mr. Milone has argued for months - nothing bad can come from offering these incentives. 

      If just one family decides to move into Schoharie County because of them; and they build a new home, enroll their children in local schools, and help fuel the economy, the abatements can be deemed a success. While growing the struggling tax base is their primary reason for implementation, encouraging young families to settle in county is at the heart of the issue. 

     Take for instance the editor of this publication. Although I am currently renting and getting by paycheck to paycheck, my intention is to one day purchase or build my own home. And the exemptions adopted last week give me hope of that home being located one day in Schoharie County, with a head start from my community to ultimately succeed.

     Consider how the abatements work: if you choose to purchase a plot of land and build your own house, the assessed value of that construction will be halved that first year and will gradually be brought up over five years. The effect will be not only the increased value of that property, but the expansion of the local tax base.

     It would afford young families the opportunity to build their dream home without facing the burden of significant taxation right out the gate. That in itself is a noble cause, but the law's side effect of potentially bringing in fresh, economically vibrant blood is the true upside to abatements, if they take a foothold.

     Local schools are facing significant challenges from declining enrollment, and small towns are lopsidedly aging without the next generation there to fill the void fifteen, twenty years from now. These exemptions have the potential to both draw in young people to take a chance in Schoharie County, and to keep them here - as in my case - to settle permanently. 

     Of course, we will only be able to examine whether abatements result in increased residential construction when the three year sign-up period lapses in 2016 and they sunset entirely in 2021, but even if they fail to meet a majority of the county board's expectations... At least they tried, and they weren't afraid to explore new paths to make our community better.

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

62% Say No to Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 2/10/14 | 2/10/14

Tax abatements have already passed into law in the Town and Village of Schoharie and the Town of Blenheim, but have little overall support in the County, according to a new Schoharie News poll. According to the figures in our unscientific poll, the majority of our readers reject all abatements and a substantial minority favor them being extended through the whole County.

Do You Support Tax Abatements?

Yes, they should span the County: 20 votes, 22%

Yes, but only in the Valley communities: 6 votes, 6%
No, the hidden cost will be too great: 57 votes, 63%
Undecided: 8 votes, 9%
Total Votes: 91

Overall, 63% oppose the abatements as a whole while only 28% support them in part or for the whole area. Remember to vote in our next poll, currently on the sidebar about whether the Blenheim Bridge should be rebuilt.

Blenheim Unaminously Approves Abatements, Fracking Law

Written By Editor on 2/7/14 | 2/7/14

With everyone in attendance voicing support for the controversial idea, members of the Blenheim Town Board voted unanimously in favor of two local laws Monday evening that pertain to tax abatements. The laws are the brainchild of Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, and have seen momentum spread across the Valley in recent weeks. 

Blenheim's version offers assessment exemptions to first time home buyers, and reconstruction efforts up to 50% of the house's value for five years, with the abatements being phased out in 10% annual increments. Both were specifically recommended by Real Property Tax Services. 

In other action, Blenheim board members voted - again without public, or political opposition - in of another proposed local law that would ban hydrofracking in their small community. The Town will formally pass the law next month, after receiving a referral from the County Planning Commission.

Vote in Our New Poll: Do You Support Tax Abatements?

Written By Editor on 2/4/14 | 2/4/14

Here is a chance for our readers to weigh in on the controversial tax abatement proposals that Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone has spearheaded since last fall. The proposals have been enacted in both the Town and Village of Schoharie, and considered across much of the Valley, but faces stiff opposition from Republican members of the County Board.

The poll is located on the right hand sidebar of the website.

Supervisors Mixed on Countywide Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 1/28/14 | 1/28/14

With several Valley governments either adopting or researching proposals to implement tax abatements in their respective municipalities, Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone and allies renewed efforts to see the controversial tax assessment exemptions adopted countywide at Friday's monthly Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Spurred by movement toward abatements, Mr. Milone proposed a public hearing be held to further educate the public and continue discussion of adopting two soon to be introduced local laws based on the Town of Schoharie's first time home-buyers and home improvement exemptions approved last fall, as recommended by Real Property Tax Services. 

However, not everyone was on board.

Both Supervisors Bradt and Vroman assailed the hidden costs of adopting tax abatements to non-qualifying landowners, with Mr. Bradt of Carlisle arguing that unassuming neighbors would have to pick up the tab for homeowners that receive the exemptions. Mr. Milone reiterated his previous statements on the tax proposals by stating they would have no effect on existing landowners and that, "there is no downside to this."

Town of Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon then jumped into the conversation, arguing against Mr. Bradt's position by pointing out that if a young couple purchased a previously vacant property in Huntersland assessed at $130,000 but were exempted for half the land's value the first year, there would still be a net gain of $65,000 in taxable value for the Town that would increase in $13,000 intervals over a five year period.

Calling Mr. Milone's proposal a great idea for, "those places that really need it," Town of Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice voiced his concerns over adopting countywide abatements because he felt if they were extended to Towns not affected by Irene and Lee that valley communities would not be helped as originally intended.  

After further discussion Supervisors set the public hearing on the two proposed local laws to immediately following their regularly scheduled county board meeting on Friday, February 21st at 2 pm. Members of the board, regardless of their position, believed more discussion was needed on abatements and their effect on county landowners.

Valley Governments Move Toward Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 1/20/14 | 1/20/14

After months of battling foes on the County Board of Supervisors over a series of local laws intended to attract first time homebuyers and encourage residential repairs in the Town of Schoharie through the use of exemptions, Supervisor Gene Milone's tax abatements are starting to gain traction across the Schoharie Valley.
Spurred by the recently re-elected Schoharie town supervisor's proposal to implement countywide tax abatements at the organizational meeting, both the Town Board of Blenheim and the Village Board of Schoharie unanimously adopted their own form of the assessment exemptions. Town Supervisor Jim Buzon also pitched the idea to Middleburgh board members at their January meeting.
The recent burst of momentum for tax abatements bodes well for Mr. Milone, who can now count at least 25% of the board of supervisors weighted vote behind his proposal. It remains to be seen whether more valley governments effected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee consider the exemptions as a worthwhile means of revitalizing their communities.

However, not everyone is on board. Carlisle Town Supervisor Larry Bradt spoke strongly against the principle of tax abatements earlier this month, arguing that there is a hidden cost to these exemptions that will leave non-qualified homeowners with the bill, a position Mr. Milone has gone to pains to disavow.

Regardless of how the county board decides to act, there is definitely a movement toward granting these exemptions in an attempt to not only attract new residents into the valley communities, but to also continue rebuilding their homes and neighborhoods to place the tragic events of August 2011 behind them.

Village of Schoharie Approves Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 1/17/14 | 1/17/14

Village of Schoharie officials made the case to a handful of residents on Tuesday evening for passing their own version of tax abatements to compliment the Town's controversial four local laws approved last year. Town Supervisor Gene Milone has since called for neighboring municipalities and even the entire county to adopt the targeted exemptions.
Mayor John Borst, who stressed the abatements were being implemented to, "try to revitalize the community," explained to the small audience that the laws would offer partial assessment exemptions to first-time and existing homebuyers for reconstruction efforts among other factors. Trustee  Balliett concurred, arguing that there was no downside to abatements and that badly damaged homes could be fixed up. He would later go on to say, "God Bless anybody who could fix up these houses."
Board members unanimously supported the proposed abatements, drafted as four local laws, after holding a thirty minute public hearing before the regularly scheduled January village board meeting.
In other action board members:
  •  heard that the Village has been awarded $41,750 from the NYS Department of State for Waterfront Recreational Assets Planning and that talks will soon commence to develop a contract.
  • noted that the Community Reconstruction Program committee will be meeting on Thursday, January 23rd, 7pm at the Schoharie Town Hall and that the group is close to prioritizing funds. One proposed project is to rebuild the historic Central Bridge-Schoharie railroad.
  • requested a $302,906.66 disbursement from HELP (2011 Hurricane Emergency Loan Program) to fund repairs to the WWTP. Board members described the request as mostly cash flow as cost is subject to FEMA reimbursement. The Village was required to put down an $8,000 payment at 0% interest.
  • appointed Town Justice Kenneth Knutsen to serve as acting Village Justice in the absence of Judge Kennedy at a rate of pay of $25 per occurrence.
  • approved a motion to propose Local Law #5-2014 and to hold a public hearing at 7pm on February 11th, 2014 at the Village Offices. The proposed law would grant the Village authority to exceed the 2% tax cap if necessary.

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