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Vets Tax Exemption On Hold

The Herricks School District Board of Education has temporarily tabled its participation in a recent bill signed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo that would provide school tax exemptions for veterans of the United States military living in the district.

 

Board President James Gounaris, at a meeting on March 6, said that while the door would remain open for future participation in the program, several potential issues with the bill that made him and his trustees reluctant to opt in at this time

 

“There is the issue that we continue to have with the Nassau County Assessor’s Office, and their inability to give us good data on who is legitimate and who is qualified for the program and who is not,” he said. “The board is in favor of offering the exemption, but the problem is, how do we qualify the exemption for all these people without affecting others who may or may not qualify? Veterans who may be mistakenly excluded may pay a higher rate when they may have been qualified to participate.”

 

Another issue Gounaris mentioned was the inability of a school district to cease their involvement with the program if it turned out to harm the district. 

 

“If we opt in, and there’s an issue, we can’t opt out,” he said. “Hopefully, at a later date, the state will choose to remove that addendum and allow schools to opt out.”

 

The veteran school tax exemptions, in their current form, are broken down into three tiers, each offering different levels of benefits: non-combat veteran, a combat veteran, and disabled veteran. In addition, exemptions would be available for residents whose children were killed while in military service (known as Gold Star Parents) as well.

 

If the tax exemption is to be applied to the 2014-15 school year, it must be adopted by March 15. However, Gounaris noted that there’s the future possibility of opting in for the current fiscal year if the state extends the deadline for adoption.

 

“We believe that offering the exemption is the honorable and right thing to do,” he said. “Unfortunately, the people who are providing us the data can’t qualify for us who is supposed to get the exemption, and at what rate. However, we don’t want to outright vote no, so instead we are going to table it.”

Certs Savings

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth had noted Herricks had previously put $350,000 in reserve in case school districts had lost a tax certiorari lawsuit against the county and would be forced to pay out property tax assessment refunds to Nassau County residents. The board came up with a constructive way to spend those funds to the betterment of the district’s schools.

 

Dividing the $350,000 amongst the current 2013-14 and upcoming 2014-15 budgets, the newly-freed up tax certiorari funds will be used to provide new blacktop at the Denton Avenue and Center Street schools, a new playground at Searingtown School and various technology-related expenses, leaving a remaining balance of $61,000 to be carried over to the district’s upcoming budget.

News

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office confirmed it’s investigating allegations made towards a Long Island Little League coach, suggesting he kept $12,000 players raised for a trip to Cooperstown.

 

Parents were outraged and children heartbroken to find the team would not be going to Cooperstown this year. They say Merillon Sharks coach Vincent Carreca, of New Hyde Park, told kids they were ready to go a few days before the trip. Then parents, who called Dreams Park in Cooperstown to confirm meal plans, learned the Sharks were not registered for the event.

 

“This is a horrible thing that happened,” one parent said, who asked not to be identified.


Sports

Sewanhaka boys soccer coach Peter Burgess wasn’t sure how long his team’s playoff drought was when it was broken last season. 

 

“Somebody said it was 13 years,” said Burgess, whose entering his fourth year coaching varsity. “But I think it was five or six, I don’t know maybe longer.”

 

But one thing’s for certain, he wants to keep last year’s momentum going. 

 

The Indians, who started their season with a 3-0 loss at Hewlett, will aim for their second straight trip to the playoffs this year. 

The Sewanhaka Indians made their Nassau Conference II debut with a bang.  The Indians opened their season at home against the Calhoun Colts, unsure what to expect, as all they had ever seen of the Colts was one tape of a scrimmage. 

 

“It was nerve raking leading up to the game,” said Head Coach George Kasimatis. “We weren’t sure what to expect on offense or defense, you have to guess early on. “

 

But it didn’t take the Indians long to introduce themselves to the conference, as junior, Quarterback, Elijah Tracey broke a 75-yard run taking it the distance to put the Indians up early, which ended in a 27-7 rout of the Colts. 


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

Herricks Meeting - September 18

Bike Safety Day - September 21


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