Monday, April 07, 2008

NEW ROCHELLE - The city hopes to join other communities in the Lower Hudson Valley that are giving Cold War veterans a break on property taxes.
Under the proposal being considered by the City Council, veterans who served in the armed forces - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard - between Sept. 2, 1945, and Dec. 26, 1991, would be eligible for a 15 percent reduction of their assessed property value, effectively reducing their city taxes.

For most veterans, that would translate into a savings of $45, on average, said Louis "Chip" Perone, the city's assessor.
Some city veterans welcomed news of the proposal.

"I think every vet that left their home to go to a foreign land should get it," said Bill Moye, commander of New Rochelle's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2882 and third vice commander of American Legion Post 8. "I'm glad somebody is behind it."

The City Council is scheduled to have a public hearing at 8 p.m. tomorrow at City Hall. Councilman Barry Fertel is sponsoring the resolution.

The exemption is capped at $12,000 for Cold War veterans and $40,000 for those with disabilities. The exemption also could apply to a surviving, unmarried spouse.

"We want to get this in so that it's in place on the 2008 assessment roll," Perone said.

Perone said that so far there have been about a half-dozen applications for the benefit, and he expected the cost to the city to be nominal.

He said the benefit was primarily for veterans who didn't qualify for other exemptions offered by the city.

Exemptions are already in place for veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf conflicts.

This proposal would primarily benefit those who didn't serve during wartime, Perone said.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer last year signed a law to give property-tax exemptions to property owners who served during the Cold War, but counties and municipalities must opt into the exemption.

Many municipalities in Rockland and Putnam counties already have the benefit in place, and many in Westchester have either done so or are in the process of approving it.