The state of New York provides billions of dollars annually towards property tax relief through the STAR program. For homeowners in Irondequoit, this means hundreds if not thousands of dollars in property tax savings. The STAR program — which includes Enhanced STAR for senior citizens and Basic STAR for all other homeowners — is administered by local governments, a task that we welcome given local property owners are the beneficiary.
Over the past few years, town assessor offices across New York have been tasked with helping implement various changes to the program, as proscribed by amendments to state law. This included a new manner by which new homeowners receive the benefit, transitioning from an up-front credit on the property tax bill to a reimbursement. I understand these changes can be confusing, which is why our assessor’s office is happy to work with residents to help maintain eligibility for this vital program.
This year, amendments to state law altered the income verification process for senior citizens receiving Enhanced STAR. New for 2019, homeowners applying or reapplying for the Enhanced STAR exemption must enroll in the Income Verification Program, IVP, using the RP-425-IVP form. These are available at our assessor’s office at Town Hall, or can be found at the town’s website, irondequoit.org.
While this represents change, the primary advantage is that senior homeowners will no longer have to reapply annually for the Enhanced STAR benefit, thus eliminating a yearly trek to Town Hall for many to verify income. The deadline to enroll in the IVP program is March 1, 2019. I will note that these changes do not apply for the various local exemptions offered to veterans, disabled residents and those with limited income. As always, our assessor’s office is more than happy to answer questions, either in person or by calling 336-6055.
Shifting gears, as is our tradition at the Town Board workshop, this month we recognized Ann Doeller with our staff spotlight award. Ann is an essential member of our Department of Public Works, is one of the hardest workers in Town Hall and has an encyclopedic knowledge of town issues. Most important, Ann treats all residents with respect and compassion, and we are a better organization because of her.
Finally, I would like to congratulate Tony Dambra, a longtime member of our Town Hall staff, a very happy retirement. For the past 17 years, Tony has served in our comptroller’s office, ensuring that tax dollars are spent with accountability. Not only is Tony a dedicated public servant, he is a true delight to be around, and I am proud to have been his co-worker. The place won’t be the same without you, Tony.