CATSKILL – Greene County lawmakers have approved a county property tax exemption for Cold War veterans.
The exemption, unanimously adopted by the Legislature Tuesday, entitles veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces between Sept. 2, 1945 and Dec. 26, 1991 to a partial exemption on their county taxes.
About 500 Cold War veterans in Greene County may be eligible for the new exemption, according to information provided by county Real Property Tax Service Director Frank Algozzine. He said the loss to the county tax base if all those veterans took the exemption would be about 0.1 percent.
Under the new exemption, a veteran would be exempt from 10 percent of his or her primary property assessment, not to exceed $8,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate. A qualified veteran whose property is located in Catskill would receive an exemption up to a $4,998 on county property taxes based on the current state equalization rate of 62.47 percent.
The exemption also exempts a Cold War veterans from a percentage of the property’s assessment equal to one-half of any service connected disability rating not to exceed $40,000 multiplied by the latest final state equalization rate. A Catskill veteran with a service-connected disability would be entitled to a maximum exemption of $24,998.
Any veteran who currently receives the alternative tax exemption would not be entitled to the Cold War exemption. The alternative exemption applies to veterans of defined periods of war within the time frame of the Cold War, which includes the Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
Prior to adopting the new exemption, lawmakers held a public hearing to take comment on the proposal. Several veterans in attendance thanked the Legislature for providing the tax break.
“I think it’s high time it was done,” veteran Joseph Zanchelli said.
Legislature Chairman Wayne Speenburgh, R-Coxsackie, said he was elated by the adoption of the new exemption. Speenburgh, a U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam, said veterans should be recognized for their service.