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Tax breaks for farming properties in Marilla discussed

Numerous tax incentives for owners of farm property were discussed at a recent meeting among members of the Marilla Town Board, Town Assessor Kandace Wittmeyer and farmland protection advisor Barbara Johnston, a senior advisor with Stuart I. Brown Associates.

Wittmeyer said assessments are based on what the land can produce and since Marilla is in an agriculture district that includes several protections and rights for farmers, there are several exemptions available.

Owners of land rented to farmers get breaks on school, county and town taxes, and a new barn will get a farmer a tax exemption for 10 years. These are only some of the exemptions available.

The assessor has forms listing all the eligible operations including, but not limited to, equine, crops, livestock or livestock products, tree farms, woodland products including maple syrup, sap, Christmas trees produced on the applicants land, vineyards and newly planted orchards.

The parcel must consist of at least seven acres that have been used to produce crops, livestock or livestock products for sale for the preceding two years. There are other requirements pertaining to gross sales.

Johnston said 85 percent of Marilla is in the agricultural district and after meeting with the Planning Board, Town Board, assessor and local farmers, she will hold another meeting at the end of July to present a recommendation for forming a farmland protection agency.

Wittmeyer said applications for exemptions must be presented to her office by March 1. Applicants must file annually for each separately assessed parcel with the local assessor. Renewal forms may be filed, provided no changes have occurred.