Alarm System and County Casino Funds Discussed

By Mary Fox

The October meeting of the Great Valley Town Board took place on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. The meeting was opened at 7 p.m. by Town Supervisor Dan Brown with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The first order of business was a discussion with Town Assessor Jeff Forester regarding the use of communication equipment in making information more readily accessible. He also reported changes to the New York State Basic STAR school tax exemption, which is based on a percentage of property taxes.

Forester explained that the new requirements have been put in place “to catch people who have been claiming more than one property for exemption.”

“The exemption can be claimed on the primary, legal residence only. Any other properties owned by that person cannot receive a STAR exemption,” he stressed.

According to the new legislation, all homeowners receiving a Basic STAR or Senior STAR exemption must register with the New York State Tax Department in order to receive STAR exemptions in 2014 and subsequent years. If they do not register, their benefit will be taken away.

In order to continue receive your STAR exemption, you are required to register before Dec. 31, 2013, if you are a resident homeowner and currently receive the Basic STAR exemption. Homeowners will not need to register in order to receive their 2013 STAR exemptions. Once you register, you will be in the system and will not be required to reregister each year.

The Senior or Enhanced STAR exemption provides an increased benefit available to owner-occupied, primary residences of senior citizens age 65 and over.

Seniors who already receive the Enhanced STAR exemption will need to continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program in order to continue receiving this annual exemption.

“Everyone, already receiving a Basic or Senior STAR exemption, has until end of this year to register,” said Forester. “If eligible, they should have received a registration renewal form by now.”

Any questions should be directed to the Town Assessor Jeff Forester at the Great Valley Town Hall by calling (716) 945-4200 for his answering service.

Highway Superintendent Jack Herrington reported preparations for the winter are being made included the stockpiling of sand.

The alarm system for the Town Hall building has been contracted with Allied Alarm Services for $259.20 a year.

Code Officer Rob Germain reported that in the past month, five residential building permits have been issued and two fire inspections of the Great Valley Fire Department have taken place. He has also completed this year’s mandatory 24 hours of in-service code enforcement training.

County Legislator Carl Edwards reported that Cattaraugus County has recently received settlement with the Seneca Nation over casino stipends. The county will receive over $6.5 million with the rest going to Salamanca.

“While many proposals have been presented, there is not a comprehensive plan in place yet for how the county funds will be used,” said Edwards.

It was suggested by Town Clerk Toni Evans that some of the monies allotted to the county from the settlement with the Seneca Nation be used to update the Radio Communications System in county fire departments as some equipment is becoming obsolete due to changes in bands.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m. The board went into a preliminary budget work session.