The Waterville Times
Waterville, New York

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January 21, 2015 Front Page Headlines

WCS Approves Exemption
After a year of college in the late 1960s, Oriskany Falls resident Roger Sykes left to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corp. He was sent to Vietnam, wounded and came home a Purple Heart recipient. He became a New York State trooper, rising to the rank of captain. Although Roger survived his tour of Vietnam, he did not survive from his second battle of cancer caused by the Agent Orange he was exposed to, said his older brother, Dick Sykes. Roger Sykes died a few years ago from the cancer. Still, his legacy helped toward getting the Waterville Board of Education to unanimously adopt a property tax exemption for all war time military veterans in the district. In doing so, Waterville becomes the first district in Oneida County to adopt the exemption, and one of less than a dozen in Upstate New York to do so. At last week’s board meeting, Dick Sykes said he wanted to put a face to the word veterans as the board considered whether to allow the exemption. Most school districts in the state are not providing one to veterans. “Someone like me paying $2,000 a year in school taxes will have it go up 1.4 percent, according to your figures,’’ Sykes said. “That amounts to $28 a year or little more than $2 a month. Seems like this is worth helping our veterans.’’ As the board has discussed the topic before last week’s vote, veterans have attended to make the case for adopting the exemption. Ron Marris brought a chart he made showing what veterans would save, which then shifts to other taxpayers to pay. But Marris said providing the exemption could lure veterans to settle in the district. “Six young veterans decide to build in this district because you have the exemption would take care of the amount,’’ Marris said. He also brought along a certificate of appreciation he received from the annual Memorial Park School Memorial Day Thank You to Veterans ceremony. “If you can’t do this then come that Wednesday and explain why you couldn’t.’’ Board members have said in their discussions that the sticking point was not whether veterans deserved the exemption, but the shift to the tax bills of other taxpayers. For the Complete Article, Click Here to Subscribe!

BCS Outlines Exemption Impact
Autumn Blood said she is proud to be a military veteran. She said she is grateful to be able to attend Syracuse University as a benefit to her service. But the Brookfield resident said she is torn on whether Brookfield Central School District should adopt a resolution offering a property tax exemption to veterans. “I can see both sides of it,’’ she said at last week’s BCS Board of Education meeting. “I’d love it but I don’t want to hurt my neighbors.’’ She and four others attended the board’s public hearing last week regarding the exemption. If the district votes for it, all property owners who served during war time would qualify for an exemption, which would reduce their tax bill. In turn, that reduction will shift to the bills of other taxpayers. BCS Superintendent Jim Plows said based on the figures from Madison County, which already has an exemption for the county and town, the impact in Brookfield would be about $16,000. For a property assessed at $100,000 in the district, that comes to a 1.2 percent hike, or $21 more. Right now 80 properties in the district take the county’s exemption, Plows said. It is open to veterans, surviving spouses and Gold Star mothers. The district would have to approve the exemption soon for veterans to meet the March 1 filing deadline. The board’s next meeting is Jan. 28. Late last year the state passed a bill allowing school districts to decide on an exemption. Most New York state districts have decided not to grant the exemption. Plows said the 80 exemptions being done could grow. “We have a lot of veterans in the district who don’t take any exemption,’’ he said. “Maybe all this publicity and now that it’s for schools will get them to take it.’’ Granting the exemption would also reduce the amount the state pays in taxes to the district through the STAR program, Plows said. Because a property assessment will be reduced on paper through the exemption, the STAR funds that property gets will drop. That amount - calculated at $3,500 for BCS - is part of the $16,000 taxpayers have to pick up, he said. Madison County sets the exemption at $12,000 for all war time veterans, an additional $8,000 if the veteran served in combat and up to $40,000 more off if the veteran is disabled due to military service. These are the default levels also set by the state. Districts can opt to go lower or higher with the exemptions. For the Complete Article, Click Here to Subscribe!

Brookfield Forms Ethics Committee

Two people volunteered to serve on the Ethics Committee that has been discussed for months in the Town of Brookfield, allowing the committee to finally come to fruition. At last week’s Brookfield Town Board meeting, resident Tammy Krauss said she was submitting a letter of interest for the committee, which had just one person till then. After Krauss said she would do it, resident Karen Nowak said she would agree to become the required third member. Jackie Mineo is the other committee member. Krauss said such a committee is needed as the town deals with hydrofracking. She said some town board members have a financial interest in allowing the gas drilling process, which as of last month has been banned throughout New York state by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Some people have gas leases and have no right to vote on this,’’ Krauss said. But both Councilman Dewitt Head and Councilman Joe Walker, who Krauss said has leases, said they do not. “Can you prove it?,’’ Head asked. “I had one 20 years ago but I don’t have one now. You should prove that before you accuse me of something.’’ “You know more than I do, young lady, about what I’m doing,’’ Walker said. That matter came up at the end of the board’s 90-minute meeting during the public portion. Krauss and her husband, Larry, asked the board to put a town hydrofracking ban in place as protection in case the state ban is lifted. Larry Krauss said when Cuomo leaves office that will leave the state unprotected, a situation he compared to Brookfield allowing its moratorium to expire in the summer before the state ban was established. Krauss said the town should follow its promise to ban hydrofracking after a town straw poll in November showed significant support to do so. Supervisor John Salka said the town was not ready to do that last month prior to the state’s ban. “It would be wrong to put in place a law until we can make sure we wouldn’t lose in court,’’ he said. Krauss wanted to poll each of the five board members on whether he supported a ban. Salka refused the request, saying there was no purpose to it. Earlier in the meeting Salka outlined more specific guidelines for allowing the public to make comments at the meeting. People will be limited to three minutes and can comment only on matters discussed at the meeting. For the Complete Article, Click Here to Subscribe!

Arrests Made In Thefts
According to the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, Dylan Pardi, 19, of Oriskany Falls, and Dustin Phillips, 16, of Madison, were arrested for petit larceny. On Jan. 4 it was reported to the Sheriff’s Office that someone stole recyclable cans and bottles from the Boy Scouts of America’s bottle redemption drop site on Madison Street in the Village of Oriskany Falls. Pardi and Phillips were developed as a suspects in the theft and on Jan. 13 were arrested. Both were issued appearance tickets, returnable to the Town of Augusta Court Feb. 2 and then released.

Augusta Changes Permit Fees
A new fee schedule for Building Permits has been adopted by the Town of Augusta. Augusta Town Board members voted at their November meeting to change the fees at the recommendation of Town Codes Officer Gary Schreppel. Supervisor Sue Collins, along with councilmen Mark Stolarczyk, Travis Wright and Jim Dowd voted yes, while Councilman Wayne Russell voted no. Board members also asked Schreppel about the status of properties that have had complaints filed against them. Schreppel said progress is being made on all the properties and that fences have been put up on some to hide the junk. Board members said putting a fence up is a Band-aid on the problem and these properties need to be cleaned up. Schreppel will also check with the Zoning Laws regarding fencing. It is also a possibility the properties could fall under Junkyard status and he will look into that. For the Complete Article, Click Here to Subscribe!

 


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Jessica Mae Armlin, 19
Althea E. Browne, 89
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Richard C. Holt, 62
Hazel B. Dolly Owen, 82
Brenda L. Vincent, 59
Jeffrey T. Wyman, 56

 

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