Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 27, 2014

GUEST VIEW: Veteran grades recent Niagara-Wheatfield school board meeting

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Finances: F. The Niagara-Wheatfield School District is under the gun from the state of New York for this board and past boards poor handling of taxpayers’ dollars. The Veterans Tax Credit was debated by the board. It’s a non-monetary issue for the school district. The Veterans Tax Credit was signed into law in December 2013 by the governor. The law does not cost the district a dime. This law will cost the non-veteran taxpayer some of their hard-earned money in support of the veterans living in their community, many of whom are receiving veterans’ benefits and some relief with their school tax bill would be welcomed. The governor gave school boards across the state the “explicit authority” to give veterans a tax break on school taxes. They do not have to put it out to a public vote. The board has until March 1, 2014, to pass the law by adopting a resolution extending the tax break to veterans. The law is quite specific. Some of the school board members wanted to put the law to a public vote shirking their duty the law gives them, therefore, passing the buck.

The school board tabled the issue for lack of information. Because of their ineptness, veterans will have to wait until the 2015 tax roles are finalized. So all the talk the board did about supporting veterans, in a split second they turned their backs on all the veterans in the Niagara-Wheatfield School District by tabling the discussion to another meeting. Time is of the essence. A date for a public hearing in the next week could have been made rather than tabling the discussion. The next meeting of the school board is March 5, four days after the deadline. The Niagara-Wheatfield School Board has had since mid-December to discuss this issue amongst themselves and with the public. The board has had three public meetings since the Jan. 1. The Veterans Tax Credit was not even on the agenda until Feb. 12.

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