Cochecton reviews tax exemptions, shares history

By LINDA DROLLINGER
Posted 9/18/19

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — “We’ve taken a hit in assessed value,” said supervisor Gary Maas at the opening of the September 11 Cochecton Town Board meeting. He was referring to the …

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Cochecton reviews tax exemptions, shares history

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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — “We’ve taken a hit in assessed value,” said supervisor Gary Maas at the opening of the September 11 Cochecton Town Board meeting. He was referring to the diminished revenue the town will experience as the result of a drop in real property tax rate.

Maas and his fellow board members were concerned with the significant impact that could have on large land tracts currently being claimed as agriculture or forestry exemptions. “Let’s make sure ag and forestry land is being used as claimed, and is in full conformance with all applicable exemption requirements,” said Maas, adding, “Just because someone owns a chicken doesn’t mean he’s a farmer and is entitled to an ag exemption.

A forestry exemption requires a minimum of 50 acres of contiguous woodland.

The state minimum standard to qualify for an agriculture exemption is average annual gross sales of $10,000 over two years on at least seven acres of land. Properties with less than seven acres can still qualify if they gross at least $50,000. The farms must produce crops, livestock, or livestock products for sale. Commercial horse boarding also qualifies. More information on exemption history and criteria can be found at www.bit.ly/agtaxoverview.

Councilman Sean Nearing introduced a resolution to review all town ag and forestry exemptions for full compliance with state requirements; it passed unanimously (minus absent Paul Salzberg).
As the board turned its attention to the Cochecton Preservation Society’s (CPS) upcoming annual Coffee, Tea & History event, CPS president Larry Richardson related an anecdote concerning the seven-foot carved wooden bear that stands as sentry in front of the organization’s Cochecton train station home.

“We put a plastic bag on the bear’s head, to cover its badly deteriorating condition. We’re doctoring it with wood putty, but in the meantime, we’re keeping it bandaged. Well, a state trooper stopped and said he thought we’d covered the bear’s head because it was the first day of early bear hunting season (September 8) and we were hoping to keep it from being a target of nearsighted hunters.”

Coffee, Tea and History starts at 1 p.m. on September 22 in the Cochecton Train Station (8537 State Rte. 97). Two keynote speakers are Sullivan County Democrat publisher Fred Stabbert III, whose topic is trees, and former Sullivan West Central School District superintendent Nancy Hackett, who will talk about one-room schoolhouses located within the district. Following the presentations, refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

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