Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has formally signed two local laws that respect and honor the service of Erie County veterans. The first, Local Law Intro. No. 18-1, makes permanent a 15% exemption on certain qualifying real property for Cold War veterans as long as the veteran owns it; this is a change from the previous version of the law that allowed the exemption to stand for 10 years from the date of property purchase.
The second local law signed by Poloncarz, Local Law 19-1, imposes misdemeanor criminal sanctions against any individual who is found to fraudulently represent themselves as a veteran in order to receive a monetary or any other tangible benefit. Known as the “Theft of Valor” law, the measure would be enforced by Director Shenk and the Erie County Veteran’s Service Department. Violations of this Local Law are punishable by a fine of up to $250 for the first offense, $500 for a second offense within one year, and $1,000 and/or up to one year’s imprisonment for a third offense within the same year.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who have answered the call and served our country to protect the freedoms we hold dear. By taking these actions, we are underscoring our gratitude for their contributions to our community and ensuring that our veterans continue to be held in that special respect that they, and only they, deserve,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Now we are extending a special veterans’ property tax break to further diminish these veterans’ tax burden, and also making it a crime to falsely impersonate a veteran. We are a better community because our veterans cared enough to stand up for America and today we are standing up for them.”