By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — More than 2 million qualified homeowners statewide have registered for the STAR property tax exemption, according to the state Department of Taxation.
But thousands of other homeowners, including hundreds in local municipalities, have yet to register for the tax-reduction program by the Dec. 31 deadline.
“STAR saves homeowners an average of $700 every year, but time is running out,” said Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox, said in a media release. “If you’re eligible and haven’t registered yet, take a little time from your busy holiday schedule and register.”
The Department of Taxation has directly mailed at least once all of the nearly 2.7 million homeowners who claimed the exemption last year. Last month, the department sent reminder postcards to 900,000 homeowners who hadn’t registered.
The Basic STAR exemption is available on the primary residence of homeowners with incomes of less than $500,000. The registration stems from a Department of Taxation investigation that found thousands of taxpayers receiving STAR exemptions on more than one property.
The registration is a one-time process – assuring that homeowners will get the Basic STAR exemption in 2014, and beyond, state officials said. Senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not impacted by the new registration program.
Between 70 percent and 79 percent of eligible households have registered in Otsego, Delaware, Chenango and Schoharie county region as of Dec. 9, the state said.
Delaware County responses were 73 percent with 2,390 properties unregistered by Dec. 9. Chenango had a 74 percent response rate with 2,583 properties. In Otsego County, the response rate was 71 percent with 3,308 properties unregistered, and in Schoharie County, 77 percent had responded with 1,451 properties unregistered.
In the city of Oneonta, 79 percent of properties are registered with 273 remaining.
To register, visit www.tax.ny.gov or call (518) 457-2036. Through Dec. 31, the department is offering extended STAR registration hours of 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
More than 35 newly graduated troopers have been assigned to Troop C —Sidney, which has headquarters in Unadilla, according to state police officials in Albany.
Troopers joining Troop C whose hometowns are in the four-county area include Chad R. Beames of Bainbridge, Jonathan D. Cook of Schenevus, Paul J. Eisele of Andes, James M. Feldbauer of Grand Gorge, Nicole E. Mauro of Worcester, Samuel R. Sears of Greene and Adam L. Whaley of Norwich.
Also, James P. Francisco of Sidney has been assigned to Troop B based in Ray Brook, Stacey L. Ferris of Worcester has been assigned to Troop D in Oneida, Derrick V. Rose of Davenport has been assigned to Troop E, Canandaigua,
Trooper Jonathan D. Cook, 30, of Schenevus, was the winner of the “Joseph T. Aversa Physical Training Award,” according to a release about the class. During physical agility testing, he achieved the highest score of all 180 members of the class.
The graduation ceremony took place Tuesday at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.
The recruits went through 26 weeks of training and will start field training Monday, officials said, and they are expected to be certified to ride alone by the end of February. Troopers earn $66,905 upon graduation, up from $50,374 while in the academy.
A Hartwick College graduate who became a lawyer and served as a U.S. ambassador has received an award for his work internationally, a media release from the Oneonta college said.
George C. Bruno, a 1964 alumnus, was recognized Dec. 2 with the 2013 Daniel Webster International Lawyer of the Year Award from the New Hampshire Bar Association. The award ceremony was at the Bar Center in Concord, N.H.
According to the citation, Bruno has experience in more than 55 countries and his contributions range from complex international business transactions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to anti-narcotics work in Latin America, election observations in the Balkans and diplomacy in Central America.
Bruno, who currently practices global immigration law from his office in Manchester, N.H.. served as U.S. Ambassador to Belize under President Bill Clinton.
Bruno received his law degree from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Hartwick College in 1996 and the President’s Award for Liberal Arts in Practice in 2011.
Denise Richardson, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 213, or at email@example.com.