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Assessor Delays Vets Tax Break

 

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, nearly 2,000 military veterans and Gold Star families in Levittown and Island Trees will have to wait for their tax break until next year. 

 

Both the Levittown and Island Trees school districts are among several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. Earlier this year, trustees in both districts voted unanimously to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year. 

 

“We all supported it with the intention that it would provide veterans a break on school taxes immediately,” said Island Trees School District Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy, “not in the 2015-2016 school year.”

 

On Dec. 18, Gov. Cuomo signed a new law allowing local school districts to extend tax exemptions to U.S. military veterans and some families. Each district was required to pass a resolution to opt in. An email sent from Deputy Assessor Michele D. Wawrzynski to

school administrators on Jan. 8, obtained by The Levittown Tribune, says “resolution must be transmitted to the Nassau County Department of Assessment no later than March 15, 2014, to be effective for the 2014-15 school year.” 

 

A letter from the county signed by Acting Assessor James E. Davis and sent on April 1, however, says that in fact Jan. 2 was the deadline. Although the letter acknowledges that all school districts seem to have been caught out, “To my office’s knowledge, all school districts throughout Nassau County passed resolutions ... AFTER Jan. 2,” it does not acknowledge any role the assessor’s office may have played in such a widespread misunderstanding. The assessor’s office declined to speak on the record, but did email a copy of the April letter. 

 

In response to the letter, Murphy said that quite a number of local veterans will be upset to learn the county is not able to make it happen this year. 

 

Levittown was historically built in 1947 as a mass-produced suburb for veterans returning from war. Today, 1,562 eligible veterans live within the Levittown Public School District. 

 

Levittown schools Superintendent Dr. James Grossane declined comment on the County Assessor’s mistake, as of press time.  

 

The veterans bill offers three tiers of income exemption: $12,000 for all eligible recipients, with an additional $8,000 for combat veterans and an additional $40,000 for all veterans who suffered a “service connected” disability. Exemptions would be available for residents whose children were killed while in military service (known as “Gold Star Parents”) as well. The exemption will now take effect starting the 2015-16 school year.

 

— Additional Reporting By Chris Boylde

News

More than 475 runners from all across Long Island, came together on Aug. 30, for the tenth annual Companions in Courage one-mile run.

 

For Andrea Kopatka, 49, of Levittown, this was her first race in three years. 

 

“I wanted to run this race before I turned 50,” she said. “It was on my bucket list.” 

Over the summer, 13-year-old Zachary Martin of Levittown was named an All-American athlete for his performance on the gridiron, earning him an invitation to the ninth annual Offense-Defense Youth All-American Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

 

Martin, a defensive lineman for the Wisdom Lane Middle School Wildcats, said he was selected among a group of young athletes after attending a rigorous five-day football camp at LIU Post.  


Sports

The National Brain Tumor Society hosts its Long Island Brain Tumor Walk on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Jones Beach State Park, 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Michelle Duffy of Levittown was recently named head coach for the Blue Angels’ cross country program at the College of New Rochelle. 

 

“We are very pleased to have a coach with Michelle’s pedigree take the reins of our cross country program,” said Athletics Director Harold Crocker. “Her success athletically and academically, as well as her ability to mentor and guide young women, makes her the ideal coach for the Blue Angels.”


Calendar

Levittown Board of Ed - September 10

Patriot Day - September 11

Annual Country Fair  - September 13


Columns

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