Before the Lake Shore School Board can decide whether to give veterans an exemption on school taxes, it needs to investigate the idea further, Superintendent James Przepasniak said during a meeting Tuesday.
Nonveterans would have to pay the portion of the taxes not paid by veterans if the district were to adopt the exemption, the superintendent said.“Veterans have done a tremendous service to our country,” Przepasniak said. “The reality of this exemption is that it does spread the cost to everyone else.”
Daniel Pacos, assistant superintendent of schools for administration and finance, told the board he is awaiting information from two towns, but that based on information he received from the Town of Evans, which makes up the largest tax base for the district, there “could be a 3 percent shift from veterans to nonveterans.”
According to Pacos, under the law, veterans exemptions come off the top even before STAR exemptions are figured.
Przepasniak would like the board take its time to make a decision, because in order for it to be included in the 2014-15 budget, a decision needs to be made by March 1. Before a decision is made, there must be a public hearing.
Because the district does not have all of the information it needs, any possible exemption would not go into effect until the 2015-16 school year at the earliest.
Pacos said the board would have to get public input on several options, including placing a nonbinding referendum before voters during the budget vote to get an idea of how residents feel about it.
Ultimately, it would still be up to the board to pass a resolution if the exemption were to be put into effect.
Part of the reason Przepasniak would like to take time is because he believes changes will be made to the law, and until it is finalized, he does not want to rush a decision.
“You have not been done any favors by the governor with this law,” Przepasniak told the board. “We will do our due diligence.”
Until any changes to the law are finalized and the district gets all accurate information, the board put off a decision.
Przespasniak added that if the board decides in the future that it does not want to pursue granting tax exemption status for veterans, a public hearing would not have to be scheduled.