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March 25, 2010

Letters to the Editor: March 25, 2010

Think about your STAR exemption

After speaking with several people it has been made clear to me that many do not understand that we have families who are truly struggling to make ends meet in our community. Some think that the lower income populations squander their money on non-essential possessions.

Some do not understand how a simple prescription, a vehicle that won’t run or an extra heating bill can set a family back. Life’s daily events won’t allow for them to get even a little bit ahead because something always comes up that demands their money.

Life to them is not all about education it is about survival.

Yes, this is in regard to our school taxes. I’ve heard there are many residents who are willing to pay more to keep a few of their favorite teachers. My question is then why have all of you who can afford to pay more been claiming the STAR exemption all of these years? The STAR was originally intended to ease the burden of school taxes on our seniors with fixed incomes. Then in the government’s great wisdom they opened it up to everyone, with the intent of easing the burden of school taxes for those who needed it except that when everyone claims the exemption it helps no one.

Let me explain how it works. Say you have an assessed value of $300,000.00. Then you remove the exemption of $44,000.00, which seems to be the average STAR exemption.

The taxes you would have paid on the $44,000.00 then get spread amongst everyone because the school district still needs the same amount of money to operate. The tax burden is again spread out evenly and those who could really use the break see no benefit.

This works the same with property tax exemptions. So what I’m asking you all to do is think about whether you really need the STAR exemption.

Does your household income really justify taking the exemption? Those of you with household income over $100,000 think how it would be to live on half of that, or on a third. If you do not know if you claim the exemption, go to, access the real property tax services department and click on the RPS lookup. Here you can look up your exemptions by your name.

We all understand the need of the food bank and give generously but then go home and don’t think twice about how claiming tax exemptions affect the entire population. Begin this next school year by giving a little relief to those who really need it. Remove your STAR exemption.

Meg Kiernan


Town of Otsego

Column stirred memories

Jim Atwell’s recent column ``Dear Old Earth, still turning’’ touched many chords with me. First, I should declare an interest in said columns as Anne Atwell is my cousin, but that has nothing to do with this letter.

My family has lived in England and we visited the Uffington white horse when the children were very young. I recall their thrill at this hill figure, their joyous leaping around the horse itself, making sure to avoid the chalk, landing only on the grass. (The Uffington White horse is the oldest of the Hill Figures, even though it has, as Jim said a æMatisse-like style.) We have returned many times to the southwest, and as I write this, my coffee mug has a picture of me at the bottom of the hill staring towards the chalk figure. My mouse-pad to my right has another photo of me on it, sitting on the `eye’ of The Cherhill White Horse, after a long afternoon climb.

The Cherhill white horse is a late-19th century figure, and has nothing on the Uffington one.

But, ah, Jim, you brought back some wonderful memories.

Gail Benjafield

St. Catharines, ON Canada

Donations will fund opportunities

The recently held Cooperstown’s Got Talent Show and Auction were a huge success. The generous donations from the following businesses made the Auction possible. Please show them you value their contributions to our community by patronizing their businesses.

The Board of Directors of the Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education extends its thanks to: The Hoffman Lane Bistro, Nicoletta’s, Alex and Ika’s, The Fly Creek General Store, Daniel’s Brothers Automotive, Spurbeck’s, The Baseball Hall of Fame, Augur’s Bookstore, The Silver Fox Gift Shop, Fit to Be Tied Yoga, The Hawkeyes Baseball Team, and The Wrestling Club.

The CFEE will use the money donated last Friday to continue to fund opportunities for creative ideas and innovative programs that advance the education of our children in the Cooperstown Central School District.

Stephanie Bauer, President Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education

History Day Fair is a success

Thanks to everyone who helped make the History Day Fair at Cooperstown Central School a success. We want to thank all the evaluators who donated their time. We want to thank the PTO for their help organizing the prizes.

We also want to take time to thank the following businesses who have generously made donations toward the awards for the History Day Fair: American Legion, Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown PTO, Cooperstown Rotary Club, The Daily Star, The Farmers’ Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, and NYSHA, The Freeman’s Journal, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the VFW. Without everyone’s continued support, the History Day Fair would not be a success.

John Brotherton, Frank Miosek, Mary Beth Murdock and Michelle Hitchcock

Cooperstown Central School