Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio that provides relief to New York City residents who are being subjected to higher property taxes as a result of repairs done to their homes after damages caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“Imagine going through this storm – the pain, the fear,” Cuomo said at a press conference regarding the new legislation. “And then it takes months to rebuild. You’re displaced, you’re trying to get assistance, you’re talking to a lot of agencies, you’re filling out a lot of forms.
“And then once all the construction is done, the government comes and says, ‘Oh by the way, now that you improved your home, we’re going to increase your taxes because you changed your home,'” he added. “I mean, it is infuriating.”
The new law allows for a partial abatement of property taxes for certain properties damaged by Sandy. The abatement will appear on homeowners’ July property tax bills.
“Thousands of people are going to benefit because everyone put their heads together and figured out it wasn’t right for them to be hit by an additional tax because they finally got back on their feet,” de Blasio said. “And we weren’t going to allow that kind of unfairness to happen.”
In order to qualify for the tax relief, a home must have had a reduced assessed valuation in 2014 from 2013 due to damage from Superstorm Sandy. The home must then have an increased assessed valuation in 2015, and that assessed valuation must exceed that for fiscal year 2013.
De Blasio, who said that “struggling homeowners had to build back their homes without the kind of help they deserved from the city,” explained that 174 reimbursement checks have been sent to homeowners since January 1, leading to 36 construction starts and many more homes are in the design process.
His administration has promised that there will be 500 reimbursement checks for 500 construction starts sent out by Labor Day. De Blasio said he plans to keep that promise.
“That will show people that every level of government is working for them,” he said.