Supervisor proposes tax relief for ill residents

B y Derek Liebig

A local supervisor is asking his peers to consider a program that would cover a year’s worth of property taxes for local residents who have experienced financial hardship due to a medical crisis.

Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff asked his fellow supervisors to consider the Health Crisis Tax Relief Program, during last Friday’s county board meeting.

“I think we need a plan to give some kind of short-term, compassionate relief to people who have a health-related issue that leads to a financial crisis,” he said.

The proposal would cover a person’s county, town, village and school taxes for the first year after they’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness.

In order to qualify for the program, a person would need to have been gainfully employed before diagnosis and current on their taxes..

“This would allow people to focus on their health and diagnosis,” Haff said.

He proposed the program be paid for using proceeds from the county’s sale of foreclosed homes. The county made $418,000 during last month’s foreclosure auction.

“I think with $418,000 net, we can afford to be compassionate,” he told fellow supervisors.

Vickie Yattow, a Hartford resident and resource navigator with Glens Falls Hospital’s C.R. Wood Cancer Center, works with patients who need financial help because of the cost of cancer treatments.

She said she has worked with a number of patients who went from being employed to losing their jobs following a diagnosis. She said many face tough choices and some can no longer afford to pay their taxes.

She told the story of a military veteran who lost his job after being diagnosed with cancer. He used all his income that would have normally been set aside for taxes to purchase food for his family and to put his daughter through school. When he died, his tax bill was transferred to his family who couldn’t pay.

“I can work with creditors, I can write grants for medical bills, utilities and food, but I don’t have the resources to help patients with their tax bills,” Yattow said.

Washington County does not have any programs of tax relief for people who are ill.

Haff said he has spoke with Claire Murphy, head of the Washington County Economic Opportunity Council, who indicated the Community Action Angels, an all volunteer group that provides assistance to those in need, may be willing to help.

“They could serve as the gate keepers,” Haff said, “and would be able to administer the program with no overhead.”

Cambridge Supervisor William “Beaver” Watkins said the number of cancer survivors continues to increase and the program is “exactly what we need.”

Haff, who admitted the program is a liberal idea for someone who is conservative, hopes the idea gains traction.

“Maybe everyone in the middle can come together and see this is a valid idea,” he said.

The Government Operations Committee discussed the idea Monday and Haff, Yattow, County treasurer Al Nolette and Greenwich Supervisor Sara Idelman were asked to work on the concept and come back with a proposal.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekender – 08/28/15

Lakes Classifieds – 08/28/15

Lakes Region Freepress – 08/28/15

Northshire Freepress – 08/28/15

Classifieds 08/27/15

Washington County Fair in full swing

407624_345593242132090_322483287_n

By Linda Ellingsworth There’s still plenty of time to experience the excitement of the Washington County Fair. A celebration of […]

Coin drops hurt by bridge work

Bridge

By Dan King Those who volunteer their time to serve the people of Whitehall say their coin drop operations have […]

Working together: town, village fixing waterline

DSC_1921

By Dan King For the past week and a half the town and village of Whitehall have been working together […]

Washington County Board opposes Common Core

Schulz 2

By Dan King The third time was indeed a charm for Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff and activist Bob Schulz. Haff […]

Townwide sale next weekend

Lawn sale 006

By Dan King Bargain seekers will converge on Whitehall Labor Day Weekend, as they seek the best deals around. The […]

Three vying for public safety position

By Christina Scanlon Washington County supervisors have narrowed the field to three candidates for county public safety director and will […]

Recycled teens applauded

By Christina Scanlon Nine honorary members of the Mettowee Valley Senior Citizens were honored last week at a luncheon filled […]