An attempt to override Stoffa's veto failed. Wayne Grube, himself a vet and at that time council prez, said it best. "I want something more solid, more concrete. We have no idea how many deserving veterans would qualify. Nobody's ever talked about that. This is something that can't be done on short notice. I don't want a half-baked deal ... ."
Well, instead of a half-baked deal, we have none.
Lehigh County adopted a nearly identical American Heroes Grant last year. It offers a full property tax refund to any county homeowner deployed by the military for four months or more. To date, 20 active-duty residents have been granted rebates totaling $10,724.
“As we said when the tax rebate was proposed, it doesn’t matter if it only helps one family, it is simply the right thing to do,” explains Lehigh County exec Don Cunningham. “Many of those serving to support our military efforts are reservists who have had to put their lives on hold. I believe that the people of Lehigh County can make a shared sacrifice and cover the property taxes of these service personnel while they serve our country in a larger capacity.”
Lehigh County’s tax rate is 10.25 mills. The average Lehigh County property tax bill is $479.
The tax rebate covers all full time regular military personnel who own homes in the county as well as reservists deployed for active duty while serving in a guard or reserve unit. Service members can still apply for the rebate.
For complete details on the American Heroes Grant program, a downloadable application form, click here. You can also stop in at the Lehigh County Assessment Office, Room 517, the Government Center, 17 South Seventh Street, Allentown Pennsylvania, or call at 610-782-3038.
“What’s important is that we recognize the difficulties that our service members endure, overseas and on the home front,” says Cunningham. “This initiative has done what we intended, which is to remove one expense from these good people who are doing their jobs and answering their country’s call.”
Cunningham will provide additional information as part of his address at the Memorial Day Program at Cedar Hill Memorial Park, Allentown. The program begins at 11:45 a.m. For more information on the service, contact the Veterans Memorial Committee at 610-437-5534.