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ROTTERDAM: Town OKs Homestead Tax Option

Smith said businesses generate property tax and sales tax revenue, which goes back to the town and then to the residents. He said businesses support the school system and don't send their children there. He also said a two-tier tax system would discourage businesses from investing in the area and would undermine the economic development of Rotterdam.

Smith pointed out that while the Golub Corp. is a large business employing nearly 2,500 people in Schenectady County, the majority of businesses in Rotterdam are smaller entities run by people who also live within the town.

"Like the motto goes: Rotterdam is a nice place to live. Let's keep it a nice place to do business," Smith said.

Former Supervisor John Paolino agreed with Smith saying, "When you look at the commercial wealth of our town, the majority are moms and dads that open their doors and go back to their homes in the town of Rotterdam. I think for those people, it is in their best interest to not go through with the Homestead Tax Option."

Town assessor John Macejka said the rough numbers he received from assessment firm GAR Associates in December pointed to a significant shift to residential taxpayers.

"There showed a significant shift, no doubt about it. It was greater than we anticipated," he said.

Macejka said the shift seems to be more prevalent in school taxes than in town taxes.

Chairwoman of the Mohonasen School Board Nancy DelPrado said the board wasn't pushing for the Homestead Tax Option because there wasn't enough information available to make a clear decision.

"From Mohonasen's point of view, we want to do what's best for the residents. We'll support whatever the town decides," she said.

Macejka said adopting the Homestead Tax Option would require the town to set two separate tax rates, but those rates could be 5 cents apart. By not adopting the option, the two other taxing entities within the town, the Mohonasen and Schalmont school boards, wouldn't have that option available.

"Our duty is to afford the school boards the same option under the law that we are afforded," Tommasone said.

Deputy Supervisor Joseph Signore said, while he has not supported the reassessment project, he is in favor of the Homestead Tax Option because it would allow other entities the option.

"I'm apprehensive about this homestead tax because I don't see it being useful, I don't see a lot of people benefiting, and I see it being an administrative nightmare, but I don't want my feelings affecting the option for others," he said. ""

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