Gowanda board discusses veterans’ exemptions

GOWANDA – Starting in 2015, veterans in the Gowanda School District may see an exemption for school taxes. The Board of Education discussed the possibility of implementing the exemption in the near future.

Business Administrator Joelle Woodward explained the standard exemption has three tiers set by New York state. If the district were to pass the exemption, a public hearing would have to be held. Woodward said the board could also change the state’s standard limitations by holding a second public hearing.

For veterans who qualify for the exemption, the rest of the district’s tax base would absorb the veteran’s exemption amount. While there is no way to project how this would impact the tax rates, Woodward said it is projected that the 2013-2014 school year’s tax rate on true value would have increased by around 2.5 percent if the veteran’s exemption would have been implemented. The individual town tax rates would have increased between 40 and 50 cents, with North Collins’ tax rate increasing by about 20 cents.

“It’s very difficult to project what impact it would have on your tax rate,” Woodward said.

The exemption must be passed prior to March 1, 2015 to be enacted for the 2015-2016 school year. Mark Nephew, board member, said the exemption would be beneficial to the 1 percent of Americans who help protect the country.

“It’s a small thing we could do to help them out,” Nephew said.

The board voted unanimously to receive more information on the exemption and plan to schedule a public hearing in summer.

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