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From the Desk of Assemblyman Charles Lavine: May 3, 2013

Prepare for 2014 STAR Exemption Filing

Homeowners, who first filed for New York State’s School Tax Relief program (STAR exemption) in 1998, are looking at some new regulations that will require them to register again in order to receive their 2014 exemption.

These new rules are tied to a New York State Comptroller’s report that indicates that abuse and fraudulent filings for the Basic STAR program, on the part of some people within New York State, have cost all of us as taxpayers millions of dollars to date and promised to cost millions more if nothing changed.

In response, new legislation was drafted that will protect all of us – as state residents - from waste and abuse. The new regulations require all homeowners receiving the Basic STAR exemption to register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in order to receive their 2014 STAR exemption.

I want to assure you that you need not do anything to secure your 2013 exemption. You will still receive that automatically.

While some things like penalties, fees and sanctions will change to ensure that further abuse of the program does not continue, much remains the same. The STAR program will still provide a partial exemption from school property taxes for owner-occupied, primary residences with an annual household income of $500,000 or less; regardless of age. Your school tax bill will provide the amount of your STAR exemption and your tax savings.

To be eligible, you must own and live in a primary residence that may include a one, two or three family residence, mobile home, farm home, condominium, cooperative apartment or multiple use property.

As the documented property owner receiving the 2013 STAR exemption, you will receive written notification in the mail at least 60 days prior to the registration deadline, which explains the timeline, procedures for filing and requirements for filing for the 2014 STAR exemption. Again, registration will apply to Basic STAR recipients. Seniors receiving Enhanced STAR will not be impacted by the registration process.

A schedule of penalties, fees and sanctions involving those who are found to have filed fraudulent applications are now in place to discourage abuse of the STAR program. Hopefully, going forward, it will continue to be a program of which New York State can be proud.

News

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.

Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.

Matt Bentz, of Forest Hills, was the winner of the Oyster Festival Raffle that took place as the event ended at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. He had a choice between winning a 2015 Chrysler 200 three-year lease or $15,000 in cash. He chose the cash. He is the “Perfect Oyster Festival Raffle winner.”

Bentz is a computer systems administrator with Spa Creek Software, a company that writes software for other software developers, and has been to the festival numerous times over the years; in fact, next year he is hoping to sail here on his 24 ft. sailboat. He got it “reasonably” from a friend who was buying up.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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