Otsego Town Board Tables
Discussion of Tax Exemption
By CASPAR EWIG
At its last meeting, the Otsego Town Board reviewed the recent New York legislative rule that gave local taxing authorities the option to grant a 10 percent property tax exemption to qualified volunteer firemen and EMT workers. After a lengthy discussion, the board voted to table the issue pending further review by the town’s attorney, Will Green.
At the meeting, Green pointed out that volunteers would have to make a choice between receiving the $200.00 per year tax credit to which they are already entitled and exercising the option for the tax exemption. Because the difference between the credit and the amount that would result from taking the exemption was so great, it would make no economic sense for any volunteer to exercise the option when applied to the town’s real estate tax liability on the average house, Green explained.
Nevertheless, as Supervisor Ben Bauer noted, if the other taxing authorities—such as the school district and the county—passed a similar law providing for the exemption, then the total might be sufficiently high enough to have the exercise of the option make sense, but only if applied to a very high real-estate valuation.
It was the general consensus that the real intent of the state was to shift the cost of the volunteer tax credit from the state to the localities. However, rather than not passing the law, it was decided any final decision should await future developments. Since any option would have no effect until the 2024 tax year, there was no time pressure and the issue could be tabled until some future date.