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ROTTERDAM: Town OKs Homestead Tax Option

The Rotterdam Town Board unanimously voted at its special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 21, to adopt the Homestead Tax Option, which would establish separate tax rates for commercial and residential properties.

Despite the affirmative vote, the general consensus at the meeting was that there was still some confusion because no concrete numbers were available to show who would be benefiting and who would harmed by this option.

The state requires the board to vote on the option prior to the March 1 mailing of Disclosure Notices to residents.

If the town didn't adopt the law, the school boards at Mohonasen and Schalmont wouldn't even be able to consider the option.

In order for the school district to take advantage of the potential for homestead tax rates, the town as the assessing unit has to take action, said Supervisor Steve Tommasone.

The Homestead Tax Option is a local law under the state Office of Real Property Services that gives munici-palities the ability to tax commercial property at different and often higher rates than residential property.

In a municipality where the assessments haven't changed, commercial property owners are paying more in taxes relative to residential property owners.

During a revaluation, which Rotterdam is undergoing this year, residential and commercial properties are taxed at equal rates, but because residential properties increase in value faster, the tax burden falls to the residential property owners.

The tax option is usually not favorable to business.

Elden Smith, a representative from the Golub Corp., said the company does not support the Homestead Tax Option.

"A dual tax rate, one for residential and a higher one for other classes is inequitable and unfair," Smith said. "The purpose of the revaluation was to get taxes on a level playing field. This is not good for taxes or for the community."

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