Residents must reapply for basic STAR exemptions

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By Cheryl Petersen
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors received a quick lesson on how to apply for a Basic STAR property tax exemption before they voted to continue to expand the Delaware County emergency radio communications system and build bridges at their meeting last Wednesday.

Authorization was given to replace two pedestrian bridges in the Village of Fleischmanns, at a maximum combined amount payable of $437,500 and paid by FEMA.

“The bridges were destroyed in Hurricane Irene, but they are instrumental in the walking community of Fleischmanns,” said Middletown Supervisor, Marge Miller. “After restoration, the bridges will be maintained by the village, not the county.”

The supervisors gave the go-ahead for the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services to enter a contract for purchase of 1.782 acres in the Town of Sidney. The land will be used to erect a communications tower and related appurtenances as part of its communications expansion project.
John Wolham, Southern Regional Director, from Office of Real Property Tax Services, said, “New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is requiring homeowners to re-register before the end of the year. Original applications for Basic STAR exemption from previous years will not work. All homeowners must register to receive the exemption in year 2014. The new system is intended to help eliminate inappropriate or fraudulent Basic STAR exemptions.”

“Over 2.6 million New York State homeowners will be receiving a letter in the mail with instructions,” said Wolham. “Letters for this region will be going out this week. You should receive them by the end of next week.” Homeowners, earning a combined income of less than $500,000 can register online at www.tax.ny.gov or by calling 518 457-2036.
“Homeowners seeking exemption are required to give their Social Security number and household resident information. This data is used to cross-check information,” explained Wolham. “Homeowners can only claim one primary residence for exemption. If fraudulency is found, local municipalities can apply penalties and recover taxes.”

Delaware County Real Property Tax Service Director Mike Sabansky, confirmed that “officials from different states do contact one another and investigate for fraud.”
Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond then presented the sheriff’s 2012 annual report. “Significant illicit drug enforcement has been accomplished, but there is still work to do,” said DuMond. “A mounted patrol has been reactivated and a K9 for narcotics and searching has been initiated.”
As for the resolutions, a budget amendment transfer of road funds for the Department of Public Works, with an amount of $250,000 was explained by Public Works Commissioner Wayne Reynolds, “The costly material is liquid asphalt used to seal the roads. We treat the roads on a four-year cycle as a preventative maintenance.”
The board adopted the Multi-Jurisdictional All-Hazards Mitigation Plan Update. “The update is in compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),” explained Kent Manual, senior planner, Delaware County Planning Department. “The plan allows eligibility for future hazard mitigation funding, such as in the case of flooding. The Plan will next go to each Town to be reviewed and adopted.”
A unanimous positive vote was made to rescind a resolution that provides department heads the authority to assign county vehicles to staff.