Seaford abstains from veteran's exemption vote


The Seaford Board of Education took no action on a new state law which can provide veterans with a tax exemption on school taxes. The school board had three choices – to vote in favor of providing the tax exemption for veterans, to vote against providing the exemption or taking no action for the upcoming school year.

Seaford School Board President Brian Fagan told residents at the March 13 school board meeting that the new law, passed in December by the state legislature, required school board action by Friday, March 14. Mr. Fagan said the law represents a “tax shift which pits resident against resident and will have an impact on non-veterans, seniors, residents impacted by Sandy and neighbors still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis.”

The board explained that they would take no action on this matter, meaning there would be no school tax exemption for veterans during the 2014-2015 school year.

Seaford Superintendent Brian Conboy said the board was “seeking clear language [in the law] so we can determine if we can opt out afterward.”

The veteran’s school tax exemption has three levels of benefits for veterans as well as benefit to gold star parents. Under this law, veterans who served during a period of war, will see a 15 percent reduction to the assessed value of their primary residence; combat veterans will receive an additional 10 percent reduction and disabled veterans will see a benefit equal to one-half of their service connected disability.

“Why have other school districts passed it?” asked veteran Stan Swenson.

“We have over 900 homes that are effected by this out of 5,600 homes. Other districts may not have the number of veterans that we have,” replied Mr. Fagan.

Tony DeVita pointed out that firefighters get an exemption. “Aren’t veterans as worthy?”

“Veterans are worthy. We don’t have the same number of firefighters. We don’t know what the impact of this legislation will be on Seaford ,” replied Mr. Fagan.

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