As expected, our school tax bill has arrived and, for whatever reason, it was just a tad earlier than usual. To say that we found it less than pleasing is perhaps an understatement. The amount that we must pay this year in school taxes has gone up 4.5 percent from last year, due at least in part to the Enhanced STAR program. If we were not part of any STAR program, our taxes would have increased 4.1 percent. However, as a result of the property tax cap, the STAR reduction in taxes can now only go up as much as the overall school tax levy went up, which is 1.9 percent. Thus the people who are supposed to benefit the most from the Enhanced STAR exemption are, at least in the town of Otsego, seeing a greater increase in what they are paying than are the taxpayers without any STAR exemptions at all. Granted, without the STAR exemption, our school taxes would have gone up $176.47. With the STAR exemption we are saving $12, having to pay only an addition $164.47. So much for all the touting done by politicians about helping out our older taxpayers most of whom we are fairly confident are not receiving a 4.5 percent increase in their income.
And while we are focused on the change of seasons into fall and then winter, we must admit that our last hurrah for the summer was most pleasant. We had the opportunity to have as a house guest one of the he-we’s college buddies, Jon Battle. We manage to touch base with Jon about once a year. And this year he chose to visit Cooperstown. As we cast about for a place to partake of dinner, Jon suggested the Peppermill where we, both the she-we and the he-we, had often eaten with Jon in the past. We must admit that we do not think we had been to the Peppermill of late, but nonetheless we made the trip. And we are happy to report that we had a delightful dinner with both good food and good service. However, we were somewhat taken aback, no doubt due to the fact that we dined embarrassingly early, that we were the only people in the restaurant the entire time we were there.