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Vets Tax Break Delayed

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, military veterans and Gold Star families will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

Oyster Bay-East Norwich is one of several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending an exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. Chris Van Cott, assistant superintendent for finance, explained that the county initially gave a deadline of March 14, and that the school district did provide the county a certified resolution on that date. “It was our understanding that our veterans would see the exemption reflected in their 2014-2015 tax bills,” Van Cott added.

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 January 8, obtained by the Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot, says a “resolution must be transmitted to the Nassau County Department of Assessment no later than March 15th, 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. Many school districts were caught by surprise, which the letter seems to recognize: “To my office’s knowledge, all school districts throughout Nassau County passed resolutions ... AFTER Jan. 2,” it does not, however, acknowledge any role the assessor’s office may have played in such a widespread misunderstanding. The assessor’s office declined to address the issue on the record, but did email a copy of the April letter.

“We were notified last week that the exemption will not be applied to tax bills until the 2015-16 school year since the ‘opt in’ was after the statewide taxable status date of January 2,” Van Cott noted. “This is in direct contrast to what districts were originally informed.”

The veterans school tax bill offers three tiers of income exemption: $12,000 for all eligible recipients, with an additional $8,000 for all veterans who served in a “combat zone” 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.

Gounaris noted that the veterans exemptions will now take effect starting the 2015-2016 school year.

News

There is a new psychic medium on the North Shore of Long Island to compete with the original “Long Island Medium,” Theresa Caputo. Her name is Mary Drew and she has been working for more than a decade doing private readings. Recently, Drew has expanded her horizons and has been conducting readings at restaurants, public events and fundraisers.

“I discovered my ability to speak and to hear the deceased voices when I was 10 years old,” said Drew, who grew up in Brookville and now resides in Glen Cove. “The first deceased person I had an encounter with was my grandmother and it was a very profound experience, to say the least.”

The Oyster Bay Charitable Fund and the Oyster Bay Rotary Club hosted the annual Oyster Festival “Kick-Off” press conference on Friday, Aug. 15 at the flagpole in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

In attendance were NY State Senator Carl Marcelino and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, both Honorary Oyster Festival Chairmen; Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr.; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Chris J. Coshignano; Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Michelle Johnson; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Joseph Pinto; Oyster Bay Rotary President Judy Wasilchuk; Verizon Title Sponsor Representative, Director of Government Affairs Patrick Lespinasse; Executive Director, h2empower, African Studies Specialist Helen Boxwill; Oyster Festival Sports Representative James Werner; Long Island Rough Riders Representative Sarah Culmo and Emcee Harlan Friedman.

The 31st annual Oyster Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com