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Clifton Park - Rebate checks coming soon

Previously reluctant to give a timeline for disbursement of the planned $150 tax rebate to all homeowners and renters, the Clifton Park Town Board announced plans on Tuesday, Sept. 4, to have checks delivered to homeowners by the first week in October.

At this point, we have met all the legal thresholds to disperse money to homeowners and renters, said Councilman Scott Hughes. "Our goal, I would love to see for homeowners, for the checks to hit the last week of September, the first week in October at the latest. That's the goal."

Each town homeowner will receive a check automatically in the mail without having to apply.

Hughes said that renters will need to fill out a simple application to get their checks, and that the town plans to place advertisements in local media, as well as provide the applications to apartment owners to share with renters. Applications will also be available on the town's Web site, www.cliftonpark.org.

The board plans to officially allocate the funds at the next board meeting, on Monday, Sept. 10.

The board held a public hearing on the rebate at the Tuesday meeting. More than a dozen residents spoke, with the dialogue quickly turning to politics.

Todd Kerner, chairman of the local Democratic Committee, charged that the timing of the rebate was politically motivated.

"We've had a surplus for seven years, and we come up with a rebate idea on the eve of a close election," Kerner said. "As a taxpayer I am happy to get money back always. But there are much more efficient, non-political ways of doing it."

Supervisor Phil Barrett defended the timing and criticized the Democrats' charge that town initiatives are politically timed.

"We've talked about the timing many, many times. With a two-year term, everything positive that happens in this town is called political. If I have a two-year term, am I only supposed to do things in one year? Maybe I should just abstain from all votes in an election year," Barrett said. "I can't always put things in a time machine and say we're only going to do things in one year, we'll take the next year off."

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