STAR change

Residents not taking advantage of the school tax payment delay have been finding something odd with the school tax relief program or STAR, school officials report. Although taxpayers might take advantage of the option to pay as late as Oct. 21 without penalty after Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an order granting a delay to counties declared disaster areas, whenever residents pay they might find a treasured exemption has been modified.

Granville School District Business Manager Cathy Somich said taxpayers have questioned the amount of tax relief the program provided.

“This is due to legislation enacted earlier this year; maybe it was not publicized enough?” Somich said.

Somich said residents have been able to take the value of their exemption, for basic STAR it is $30,000 off of the assessed value of a residence, and multiply the district’s tax rate of $14.69 per $1,000 to arrive at the amount of their STAR savings.

“We’ve been receiving questions on the change in STAR exemption,” she said.

Somich said the reason for this is beginning with school taxes for the 2011-2012 school year, new legislation caps STAR savings increases at 2 percent of the prior year savings. The impact, Somich said is to reduce the tax relief to residents and the amounts paid out to school districts.

Although the amount of tax relief lost is relatively minor, about $3.67 for a taxpayer claiming the basic STAR of $30,000, the result is still a tax increase for the local tax payer, Somich said.

The district also receives a lesser amount as state officials have said the reimbursement sent back to the districts will now be based on the district taxpayers total savings, no longer on the amount multiplied by the tax rate.

Somich said caps were placed on both the basic star and enhanced star savings amounts this year.

Gov. Cuomo issued an order Sept. 21 allowing residents in any county declared a disaster area to delay paying their school taxes until Oct. 21. In Washington County Hartford, Granville and Salem school district’s school boards have passed measures to take advantage of the delay. Officials warned recently those choosing to pay later must be cautious and pay by the new Oct. 21 deadline or face a late payment penalty.

The order applies to Broome, Delaware, Essex, Greene, Hamilton, Orange, Schoharie, Tioga, Ulster and Washington counties and covers any districts that choose to pass the resolution.

Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks and village Mayor Brian LaRose made the request for delaying school tax collection following the flooding Aug. 28 as a result of the torrential rains deposited by Tropical Storm Irene.

Residents on Factory and Glen streets, Rathbun Avenue, Route 22 and River Valley Drive were at least temporarily displaced by the flooding and suffered losses and damage.

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