By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — Several area assessors said that residents should not overreact to recent stories about the Basic STAR Program.
While such exemptions are set for 2013, the program has been in the news because of widespread fraud and the resulting law, which is part of the state’s 2013-14 budget. People must apply again for the Basic STAR by April 1, 2014.
New York’s STAR program provides a partial exemption from school taxes for most owner-occupied, primary residences. Basic STAR exemptions are available for an owner-occupied, primary residence where the income of owners and their spouses totals less than $500,000.
Oneonta town assessor Rich Maxwell said he has had 10 to 15 messages since the story was in the news. “There is really nothing to do right now,” he said.
Only Basic STAR is affected. He expects there will be minimal issues because most assessors know their town’s properties well.
The current Basic STAR recipients will be be contacted by the state Department of Taxation and Finance when it’s time to register.
As of March 1, 2013, everything is set for this year, he said.
Sidney town assessor Linnea Wilson said since the story ran in The Daily Star earlier this week, 20 to 30 people have called or stopped at her office or visited the town clerk. She reasoned that people misread the April 1, 2014, date to re-apply for the program thinking it was this year. The state isn’t ready for the updates, and there is nothing on its website, she said.
There is no reason for anyone who qualifies for any of the other STAR exemptions to be concerned, those are set, she said.
She is telling people to be patient. The process of refiling won’t involve assessors. She said she hopes the state makes it clear what people without Internet access will do.
Oneonta city assessor Mario Arevalo said in an email on the subject that taxpayers are inquiring about the program. No action needs to be taken now, he said. Existing Basic STAR recipients will be notified directly by the Department of Taxation & Finance when it is time to re-register.