Albion approves village tax break for veterans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2018 at 8:20 am

Former mayoral candidate worries exemption will shift more burden to other taxpayers

ALBION – The Albion Village Board approved a tax exemption for veterans last week that will save eligible veterans about $100 a year in their village taxes.

Mayor Eileen Banker said veterans are deserving of the tax break. It won’t take effect for about two years, she said.

“This is something we feel we should do,” she said during a public hearing last Wednesday.

The board approved the exemption despite concerns from two residents that the exemptions would cause taxes to increase for other residents.

Joyce Riley and Jason Dragon, who both ran for the Village Board in March, said Albion village taxpayers are already burdened with one of the highest tax rates in the area. The board shouldn’t have approved the veterans’ exemptions without a plan to reduce the taxes for all residents, said Riley, who ran for mayor in March.

“It shouldn’t be an add-on for those of us paying the full tax burden,” she said. “Our taxes are substantially high. Until our tax burden comes down then we could look at those things (exemptions).”

Banker said the exemptions’ impact on taxes are about equal to each person in the village buying a large pizza. The village’s tax assessments went up in the current budget and she is optimistic more home repairs will keep the tax base growing, which should keep the tax rate in check.

The village tax rate for 2018-19 is $17.73 per $1,000 of assessed property, which compares with $14.12 in Lyndonville, and $15.65 in Holley. In Medina, property owners in Ridgeway pay a $18.71-rate while in Shelby the village rate is $17.18.

Dragon, a village trustee candidate in March, said Albion needs to make significant reductions in the tax rate to be attractive for residents and businesses.

Similar-size villages in other counties that offer similar services as Albion have lower tax rates. In Brockport, the rate is $11.98. In Le Roy the rate is $10.71.

Earl Schmidt, director of the Veterans Service Agency in Orleans County, has been pushing the Albion Village Board for two tax exemptions for veterans.

Schmidt said there are 179 veterans in the village that would be eligible for an Alternative Veterans Maximum Exemption.

Albion approved that exemption at three categories: Wartime – 15 percent off or $6,000 maximum; Combat – 10 percent or $10,000 maximum; Disability 50 percent off or $20,000 maximum.

The Village Board also approved an exemption for Cold War Veterans at 10 percent off or a maximum $6,000 reduction off their assessment. There are 13 veterans in the village that would be eligible for that benefit.

If a veteran was approved for the $6,000 exemption, it would lower the taxable assessment by $6,000. With the tax rate at $17.73, the exemption would save the veteran $106.38 on the village tax bill.

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