Nearly 50,000 York County residents might be leaving cash on the table this tax season, simply because they haven't taken the time to apply for tax relief.
Under the 2004 legislation that legalized slot machines in Pennsylvania, taxpayers can apply to have their properties approved as homesteads or farmsteads, which are homes or farms that are the owners' primary places of residence.
The state's Taxpayer Relief Act uses money generated from gambling to fund tax bill discounts, which vary by school district and, in York County, range from $80 in West Shore to $503 in York City.
Yet more than 46,000 property owners who might qualify haven't even applied, and the March 1 application deadline is fast approaching.
The York County Assessment Office is trying to get the word out that these people need to apply as soon as possible.
Applications are available at the office, located in the York County Administrative Center, 28 E. Market St. They can also be printed by visiting the county's website, http://yorkcountypa.gov. Select Property and Taxes, then Assessment and Tax Claim Office, then click on "Forms" and select "Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion Application."
Every little bit of relief helps these days, so get your application in.
Likewise, a little bit of caution goes a long way, too -- so don't visit the the York County Heritage Rail Trail until officials give the all clear.
Last week's ice storm left the trail impassable and unsafe, with downed trees and limbs hanging over its 21-mile length from York to the Maryland line, according to county parks director Tammy Klunk.
The trail – one of the county's most popular parks -- is closed until further notice as workers remove the debris, a job that could take weeks.
That hasn't stopped some people from using it, based on tracks on the trail, Klunk said.
By doing so, however, people must walk around hazards and might find themselves trespassing on private property, she said.
Klunk asked people to use "common sense" and let park workers do their jobs.
The county parks system will update the public on progress via its website and social media accounts, she said.