Perillo discusses veteran’s tax exemption scenario

School district superintendent Thomas Perillo provided details on how a veteran’s tax exemption would impact taxpayers at Wednesday’s meeting of the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education. Perillo noted that he and other board members had been asked for information on the possible exemption on numerous occasions, and he wanted to share the information which he received from the city and county with the board.

According to Perillo, there are about 1,100 veterans living in Amsterdam who would be eligible for a tax exemption if the school district chose to adopt the policy. That is equal to ten percent of the taxable land parcels in Amsterdam, which accounts for $360,000 collected by the district.

If an exemption were adopted by the district, that loss in revenue would have to be absorbed by other tax payers, which would lead to an increase of $35 for all other parcels in the district based on the current year’s tax rate. Perillo said, “One of the things that we would have to stay conscious of with the $35 increase to the other taxpayers is that, as our tax levy goes up, so does that $35 figure.”

The exemption is broken up into three tiers based on service. Veterans who served during a time of war would be eligible for a $12,000 reduction of the full assessed value of their parcel under tier one. Veterans who served in a combat zone would be eligible for a $20,000 reduction under tier two. Veterans who were disabled during wartime would be eligible for a $40,000 reduction under tier three.

Perillo cited a poll conducted by the NY State Association of School Business Officials which reported 76 percent of school districts across New York State have chosen not to offer tax exemptions to veterans. 2014 was the first year that the option became available to school districts, and the Amsterdam school district does not currently offer the exemption. According to Perillo, both the city and the county currently offer a tax exemption to veterans.

If the Board of Education decided to adopt a veteran’s tax exemption for the 2015 to 2016 school year, they would be able to rescind the decision at any time, although the decision would not take effect until the following school year. The only stipulation for rescinding the exemption is that the vote to do so would have to take place at least 90 days before the taxable status date.

Ashley Onyon

Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.