First-time home buyer
tax break passes hurdle

A temporary break on county property taxes for first-time buyers of newly built houses has received the go-ahead from a legislative panel.

The Government Operations Committee approved Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.’s proposal to cut a homeowner’s county property tax bill in half in the first year of ownership of a newly built home. Following the April 18 action, next stop in the Board of Legislators’ review is the Ways & Means Committee. If this panel approves, the measure would go before the full legislature, perhaps at the May 9 meeting.

The exemption would decrease by 10 percentage points each year, with full property taxes paid in the sixth year and after.

Government Operations member Brian N. Mandryck, R-17, Lee, said he supported the tax break, but would have preferred it apply to first-time buyers of all homes, new or existing. He said first-time buyers are more likely to purchase an existing home because that is more likely what they can afford.

County Finance Commissioner Anthony Carvelli said it was his understanding that the state law allowing the exemption to apply to new homes.

"The intent is to spur new construction," said Al Candido, chief of staff to Picente.

House price limits are established by the State of New York Mortgage Agency, which also sets income limits for program participants.

First-time home buyers of previously occupied homes can also receive a partial tax exemption if they make more than $3,000 worth of improvements. However, the tax reduction applies only to the portion of the property assessment affected by the improvements.

Picente proposes to start offering the exemption Sept. 1. The program would expire Dec. 31, 2016, after which no new exemptions would be granted.