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Alden schools approve veterans tax exemption

The Alden School Board unanimously approved a tax exemption Tuesday for local veterans.

The board, empowered by a 2013 state law allowing school districts to offer tax exemptions to local veterans, opted to offer a Level C exemption. This level calls for a $6,000 reduction in taxable assets for noncombat veterans, an additional $4,000 for veterans who saw combat and an additional $20,000 for disabled veterans. Thus, veterans disabled from combat would see an overall $30,000 reduction of the assessment of their taxable home in the eyes of the district.

The Level C exemption was the lowest of the three presented to the board. The vote occurred after two public hearings, which took place immediately before the meeting.

Roughly 40 citizens, many of them veterans, attended the second public hearing, many hoping to voice their opinions on the matter.

Paul Werner, a veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis of the early 1960s and lifelong district resident, was one of those in attendance.

“I feel like we deserve something,” Werner said. “I was on the ship. We were the first ship that arrived down in Havana Harbor. It wasn’t war, but there was a lot of action.”

The discussion between the board and the residents was heated at times, with some bemoaning the overall state of veterans affairs in America. However, the board’s approval of the exemption was met with almost unanimous applause.

District Superintendent Adam Stoltman echoed the board’s pleasure with the exemption being passed.

“If the Board of Education can’t support this exemption after the homework that they did, and the community input that was given, I don’t believe there’s an exemption that we could support,” he said.