By Michael Ryan
CATSKILL – A pair of public hearings that should be of interest to anyone fitting into certain categories, wanting to decrease their taxes, will be hosted by the Greene County Legislature in the near future.
Lawmakers were expected to formally finalize the date during their regular monthly meeting, on November 15, after earlier passage in committee.
Both hearings are scheduled for December 20, starting at 6:20 and 6:25, respectively. The short span between them is indicative of the fact that nobody usually finds fault with saving money.
The first hearing is to hear comment on whether or not the county should adopt a resolution providing for certain tax exemptions for persons sixty-five (65) years of age or over with an income of $35,100 or less.
It represents an annual legislative exercise, re-upping and amending a law previously enacted, re-establishing a “sliding scale” for giving older residents a sweet tax break.
The sliding scale sets a percentage of tax reduction based (as follows) upon maximum income limit: $35,100 (50 percent), $35,100.01 to $36,099.99 (45%), $36,100 to $37,099.99 (40%);
—$37,100 to $38,099.99 (35%), $38,100 to $38,999.99 (30%), $39,000 to $39,899.99 (25%), $39,900 to $40,799.99 (20%), $40,800 to $41,699.99 (15%), $41,700 to $42,599.99 (10%) $42,600 to $43,499.99 (5%).
Barring any lengthy comment, the second hearing is slated to commence five minutes after the beginning of the first, related to an exemption on property taxes for people with disabilities and limited incomes.
This represents an amendment of legislation enacted in 2004 while also raising the maximum income limit to $35,100 (utilizing the same sliding scale figures for aforementioned Senior Citizen exemptions).
A significant shift has occurred over the past 20 years as the maximum income limit has leaped from $16,000 to the proposed $35,100, also including a jump from $29,00 to $34,000 two years ago.
In other matters:
—Lawmakers are expected to approve fee changes for county coroners, having been informed by coroners that their costs are escalating no differently than everyone else, particularly related to transport.
A proposed resolution states that the last increase was made in 2022 and in the meantime, “there is now an identified need to establish a fee for out of district response which requires additional transport time.”
Coroners fees will be nudged upwards from $300 to $325 and a $75 “out of district” stipend will be tacked on, when applicable.
Other fees are as follows: Removal and Transportation (local $225), Ellis Hospital for Autopsy ($350), Storage Fee (Funeral Home Charges Beginning Day Two, $75) and Uniforms Annually ($250).
—Lawmakers accepted a low bid (of ten bids received) from Lane Press, based in South Burlington, Vermont, to supply 85,000 Greene County Travel Guides and 10,000 Vacation Maps.
The cost is not to exceed $63,492.97 (with an additional allowance of two percent, priced at 80% of the unit contract price including freight charges, according to the resolution.
—Lawmakers authorized the county Highway/Solid Waste Department to advertise for bids for construction of new residential drop-off infrastructure at the Catskill transfer station.
Engineering and design work has been completed by consultant Barton and Loguidice P.C, paving the way for a General Contractor.
—Lawmakers have said “yes” to a budget amendment at the county Clerk’s Office totaling $28,589.40 for the continuing digitization of records.
“Whereas, the Greene County Clerk’s office is now receiving payments from IQS for Image Prints they are providing to customers online,” the resolution states.
“And whereas these funds are excess of the normal fees collected, and whereas for the first quarter of 2023 an excess of $9,437.75 has been collected;
“And whereas for the second quarter of 2023 an excess of $10,186.40 has been collected, and whereas for the third quarter of 2023 an excess of $8,965.25 has been collected;
“Therefore, the County Clerk would like to use these funds to digitize more deeds,” the resolution states, authorizing the county Treasurer to amend accounts to provide the funds.
—Lawmakers okayed the reappointment of Thomas Hoyt from the town of Windham, hamlet of Maplecrest, to the Board of Directors of the Soil Conservation District of Greene County for a term of three years.
Hoyt will receive the normal compensation of $50 for each calendar day he is actually engaged in the performance of his duties and in addition he shall be paid the current county rate per mile for going to and returning from the places that he is required to go in the performance of his duties.
—Lawmakers repointed Michelle Romalin Deyo of Greenville as director of county Veteran’s Services for one year, starting January 1, 2024.