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Calling All Croton Seniors and Friends of Good Government

March 2, 2006

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
It takes a big person—and a big village—to come right out and openly acknowledge an embarrassing mistake. To correct repeated miscalculation of tax exemptions and property taxes for seniors reported by me in a column in The Gazette and picked up in a story by (see: “Recent Exposé Uncovers Tax Overpayments by Croton Seniors”), the village board quietly passed a resolution on Feb. 21 with almost no comment (video clip). It calls for a public hearing at the next meeting to bring Croton’s Village Code into line with other communities and the New York State Real Property Tax Law.

The need to update the Village Code is not the result of “recent” changes in the law, as the Mayor characterized them. Chronic miscalculation of tax exemptions and taxes for seniors goes back to 2003. So far, nothing has been said about rectifying the overcharges of seniors caused by this oversight.

I urge seniors and their relatives and friends—in fact, all citizens interested in good government—to attend next Monday night’s meeting, March 6, and demand to know what Croton plans to do about making tax refunds to seniors whose exemptions and taxes were incorrectly calculated.

— Robert Scott

On March 2, 2006 12:26 AM, TeaDrinker said:

Option: Download and watch this video clip of “The passing of a resolution for a public hearing on March 6, 2006 to increase the income level for partial real estate tax exemptions for persons sixty-five years of age or older” in Quicktime format (2:30 mins. | 3.4 mb).

Video transcription:

Village Manager Rick Herbek: “The next resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the Village Board of Trustees would like to increase the income level for partial real estate tax exemptions for persons sixty-five years of age or older; and

WHEREAS, this requires a local law to be adopted; and

WHEREAS, Local Law Introductory No. 2 of 2006 has been drafted,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Board of Trustees hereby calls for a Public Hearing at 8pm on March 6, 2006 in the meeting room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building to consider Local Law Introductory No. 2 of 2006, increasing the income level for partial real estate tax exemptions for persons sixty-five years of age or older.

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “On the motion. Thank you Trustee Brennan. Second by Trustee Weigman. Discussion?”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “The question I have on this, ah, and we can really take this up later at the public hearing is whether, in light of the taxes that this category of people would have paid last year—do we want to consider any other step? But, I’ll leave that open.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Ah, what? I didn’t get that one. This is for—.”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “We are changing tax exemption.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “For, for January of 2007. That’s when this would go into effect. It would not have. I don’t believe it will effect this years.”

Village Manager Rick Herbek: “No.”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “Isn’t this in response to the state guidelines that changed?”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “I believe so. The state, the town adopted this recently and this, ah, is now on us.”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “Maybe I’m not—. Never mind. I’ll take it up later.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Okay.”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “I thought if would, would the seniors have been eligible for this sooner if we had passed this law sooner?”

Village Manager Rick Herbek: “There is an exemption on the, already as part of the village code.”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “Right.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “This is just changing the numbers right now. It actually changes the ceilings. It actually makes it easier, ah, you know. So, it’s already on the books if you look it, it increases— What?”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “We did it in 2002.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Correct. Any other discussion? All those in favor?”

Trustee Thomas Brennan: “Aye.”

Trustee James Steinberg: “Aye.”

Trustee Charlie Kane: “Aye.”

Trustee Leo Weigman: “Aye.”


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