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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

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”

One of Oyster Bay’s newest summer traditions is Dancing in the Street, which takes place every Friday in July at the gazebo in town. Sponsored by the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, half of Audrey Avenue is closed off and a DJ is called in for a great night of community dancing from 7-9 p.m.

“This is a great tradition and a beautiful town,” said visitor Michaela Lachance from Cooperstown, NY. “Everyone is having a wonderful time.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



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