BY ZACHARY MATSON
NISKAYUNA — A crowd of dozens of Niskayuna-area veterans urged the Niskayuna Board of Education to pass a tax break that would save veterans hundreds of dollars on their tax bills.
The veterans voiced their support for the Alternative Veterans Exemption at a public meeting Tuesday night, which Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. said they held after receiving around 1,000 letters from residents calling for the exemption.
Tangorra Jr. said the board would likely consider the exemption at its next board meeting on Feb. 8. And the board would have to act by March 1 if it wants to offer the exemption to veterans for this year.
The veterans also scored endorsements of their view from Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Steiner and local real estate agent Anthony Gucciardo, who argued Niskayuna property values would be hurt by a mass exodus of veterans moving to areas that offered the tax break.
But the most powerful voices came from the veterans themselves. Robert Serotta, a Vietnam-era veteran, discussed how a smaller and smaller percentage of Americans carried the “burden” of serving in the military — comparing it to the tax burden that results on the rest of the district’s taxpayers if the exemption is approved, projected at around $11 a year for a Niskayuna home assessed at $250,000.