Town Board talks fair trade

Public hearings scheduled

The Town Board scheduled a public hearing to be held Wednesday, May 26, on the rezoning of land on which the Blessings Corner condominium development would be built.

The application calls for the construction of 52 condominium units off of Russell Road in North Bethlehem. If the rezone were approved, the project would be sent back to the Planning Board for site plan approval.

The Town Board scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday, May 26, on a resolution to increase to the town's Cold War veteran property tax exemption to the maximum allowed under state law.

The exemption works by lowering the assessed value of ones property. Under the new provisions, the maximum limit would be changed from $12,000 to $36,000 for eligible veterans, and from $36,000 to $120,000 for disabled veterans.

The changes have already been adopted by Albany County. The exemption can only be applied to county and local taxes, not to school taxes.

Town Assessor Patricia McVee said there are 52 veterans on the town's tax rolls taking advantage of the exemption, with no disabled veterans. The exemption does not affect town revenues, but rather displaces the exempted tax burden to other town residents.

McVee said the average taxpayer pays an extra 23 cents in town tax per year as a result of the exemption, which would increase to an average of 46 cents under the proposed exemption limits.

The change would take effect in the 2011 tax rolls.

Chief accountant hired

The Town Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Michael Cohen to the position of chief accountant, a new position in town government. He started work the following day.

Comptroller Suzanne Traylor told the board Cohen's assistance was badly needed, especially to provide another set of eyes on town finances.

"We have a $40 million organizationyou have one professional accountant, and that's me," she said. "We need fiscal oversight, we need additional help."

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