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Veterans lose battle for tax break

Wartime veterans are still hammering away at the Common Council for the same property tax breaks the city recently granted Cold War veterans.

Disabled Vietnam War veteran Bill Paton's plea before a Council workshop session Tuesday evening prompted no action.

The Council last month approved tax exemptions for Cold War veterans -- those who served in the military from 1945 to 1991 but didn't see action. About 50 Cold War veterans have so far applied for the exemptions, which allow for 10 percent reductions in the assessed value of their properties. The average property assessment in North Tonawanda is $100,000.

Tuesday's Council reaction to the wartime veterans' request that the ceiling on their property tax exemptions be increased by $40,000 to $120,000 was similar to the January meeting when the veterans showed up in force.

Paton, a member of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, said North Tonawanda vets are being taxed unequally compared with neighboring communities. The tax ceiling for war veterans in the Town of Amherst is $240,000, with the Town of Tonawanda setting it at $140,000.

Mayor Lawrence V. Soos noted that some of the veterans live in expensive houses.

"Maybe this Council," he said, "should go on record that all veterans should get tax breaks, not just the homeowners."

Other segments of the local population are more in need of tax breaks, like senior citizens living on low, fixed incomes, Soos added.

e-mail: bmichelmore@buffnews.com

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