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Tax breaks for first-time home buyers

By Carol Montana
May 29, 2013

If you’re anticipating buying your first newly constructed home, Liberty wants you to consider moving to their town.

During their regular monthly meeting on May 20, the Liberty Town Board approved moving forward with a local law to give property tax abatements to first-time homebuyers of new construction.

“It’s not an exemption,” explained Supervisor Charlie Barbuti, “it’s an abatement, which means that if someone buys a newly constructed home and they’re a first-time homebuyer, they can get a 50% tax abatement the first year,” and then the abatement goes down 10% in each of the next four years. Thus, the new homebuyer has a period of five years before they will be paying their full tax rate.

“The state passed special legislation a number of years ago in order to allow towns, schools and villages to offer an incentive to market some of the unsold new housing or new construction,” said Barbuti.

The law will include income requirements and limits on the value of the home. Barbuti said that these parameters, which were set by the state, will all be spelled out in the local law.

The abatement is available to school districts, towns, villages and counties as well. Barbuti reported that he has discussed the issue with Liberty Village Mayor Dan Ratner and Liberty Central School District Board of Education President Daniel Parkhurst.

“I’m trying to line up the village and the school. Then Liberty can say ‘First time homebuyer, new construction, you can save 50% on your property taxes in the first year.’”

There will be no new exemptions after 2016, Barbuti said.

The town plans a press campaign to alert the public and will hold a public hearing before enacting the law.

In other business, the subject of the recent dismissal of David Sager from his position of deputy commissioner of the Sullivan County Department of Health and Family Services was brought up as part of an agenda item. The matter at hand was the approval of an application by the DHFS for the Town’s Adopt-a-Road program. The agreement has the department adopting Sunset Lake Road. It was signed by David Sager on April 10, 2013, and because of his dismissal, there was a question as to whether the application was binding.

Town of Liberty attorney Kenneth Klein said that as long as Sager was a county employee when he signed the agreement, it remains valid.