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West Seneca residents, especially senior citizens interested in property tax exemptions, might have to be in two places at the same time tonight to make their feelings known.

The Town and School boards both have scheduled public hearings the same night on the same topic: proposed increases in the amount senior citizens older than 65 can earn and still be eligible for a partial tax exemption.

The town hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, and the School District's for 7:45 p.m. in the Education Center, 1397 Orchard Park Road.

The town set its hearing date on Nov. 19, and the School Board picked the same date during its meeting Dec. 3.

School officials were not aware that the town had set the hearing and would have avoided the conflict if they had known, Superintendent Vincent J. Coppola said.

"Certainly it's unfortunate, but I expect that anyone who wants to come to our meeting later will be allowed to speak," he said.

He said the board won't act on the measure until later in the meeting and probably would accept additional comments.

Traditionally, raising the income level has sparked little if any opposition, Coppola said. He said he expects the board to adopt the higher limits.

The County Legislature previously adopted the maximum allowable limits for county tax purposes, and both the town and school boards have proposed following suit.

Exemptions now range from 50 percent for those with an annual income of $12,025 or less to 20 percent for those earning $15,625 or less.

Under the proposed increases, the maximum income for a 50 percent exemption would rise to $15,000 and for a 20 percent exemption to $18,600.

According to the town assessor's office, 774 senior citizens now receive town tax exemptions worth about $14.6 million.

The higher income limit would increase the total exemption to more than $16 million, not including those who would become eligible under the higher limits.

For school taxes, 758 now receive exemptions worth about $15.4 million.

The total exemption would increase to more than $16.9 million under the proposal, plus an additional amount for the elderly who would meet the new limit.

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