PCSD sets public hearing for new tax exemption policy

February 1, 2024 at 2:12 a.m.

By DAVID TAPIA | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

At the final Port Chester Board of Education meeting of 2023, school Trustee George Ford expressed interest in enacting a policy that would grant volunteer firefighters living in the Port Chester School District’s jurisdiction a partial tax exemption.

That resolution was presented to the board on Thursday, Jan. 18, and a public hearing has been set for Thursday, Feb. 29. 

Though the exact details of the exemption have yet to be set by the board, Ford said the law should reflect the one passed by the Village of Port Chester in February 2023 as opposed to the exemption the Town of Rye has in place.

“Just my input as a board member and a resident here in Port Chester, we should follow the Village of Port Chester’s recommendation and their law,” he said. Both the Village and the Town of Rye have passed similar laws, with each municipality granting the maximum discount allowed by the state of 10%.

Both policies also allow for volunteers to take part in a lifetime exemption after 20 years of active service, if approved by the municipalities’ clerk. 

However, there are some key differences between the laws.

In the Village, volunteers qualify for the exemption after two years of consecutive service, whereas the Town of Rye requires five. Port Chester’s law also expands eligibility for the exemption to un-remarried spouses of deceased volunteer emergency responders, regardless of whether they died in the line of duty or not. 

While the exact partial tax exemption was not revealed at the board meeting, the district can choose to allow up to a 10% discount. Whatever the reduction is, those who don’t qualify for the exemption would see an undetermined increase in their tax bill for the district to recoup the difference. Board Vice President Sharon Burke said she would like to see an estimate of how many homeowners would qualify and a range of how the tax burden could shift. 

“It also is reliant on the people who qualify to then fill out the paperwork and go through the process,” said board member Chrissie Onofrio, reminding that any shift in burden reported would be an estimate.

The public is invited to make their voices heard on the subject at the next board meeting starting at 7 p.m. in the Port Chester Middle School auditorium.

“Any comments, whether they’re in writing beforehand or here at the microphone, are welcome,” Ford said. They can be emailed to [email protected].


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