And If You Still Think Your Bill Is Too High, The Mayor Says You Can Appeal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Life after Hurricane Sandy is going to get a whole lot easier for New York City homeowners and businesses ravaged by the storm.

Tax bills are being slashed to reflect the reduced market value of their property, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.

For a while there people whose property was decimated by Sandy were seeing red because the city was demanding a whole lot more green, sending out higher tax bills even though their homes and businesses were badly damaged.

“I think they have a different reality and the reality is Mayor Bloomberg making money for the city. That’s what counts, not the people,” Manhattan Beach resident Ira Zalcman said back in February.

But they don’t have to scream “Can you hear me now!” any longer, because Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of reducing the market value of property in storm-ravaged areas by $12 billion. That’s $90 million in reduced taxes. The city’s Department of Finance sent assessors to more than 6,000 properties for on-site inspections.

Bloomberg estimated the average tax bill will drop by 14 percent. Homeowners and taxpayers can appeal if they think their bill has not been cut enough. Homeowners and businesses who think their tax bills are still too high will have June 20 to contest them.

LINK: City Tax Commission

“In total we revised values for more than 88,000 properties impacted by Sandy and that includes properties that suffered damage and properties that saw a drop in market value,” Bloomberg said.

So, for example:

* A single family home valued at nearly $470,000 is now valued at $383,000, a tax reduction of $647.

* A commercial property valued at $1.8 million was reduced to about $1.6 million, a tax reduction of $4,145.

The owners of the Liberty Warehouse on Pier 41 in Red Hook got a $65,000 tax break.

“When I found out yesterday it was really amazing because you never expect your taxes to go down,” Liberty’s Gregory O’Connell said.

Mark Snyder of the Red Hook Winery said the reduced tax burden will help him repair his decimated business.

“Every little bit helps,” Snyder said.

The new values were determined based on the reassessments to individual properties, as well as across-the-board reductions in market values, according to the city. As a result, homes and businesses that were not significantly damaged in Sandy have also had their market values cut.

“We’ve come a long way since Sandy to get neighborhoods back on their feet and I think today is just another step. We still have a lot of work to do and the $1.77 billion in federal Sandy relief funds we received will do a lot to help that along,” Bloomberg added.

Also Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg and NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Rob Walsh announced that the application process for the federally funded business and loan grant program is open.

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $1.77 billion in aid for Sandy relief, of which $293 million will be spent on business recovery programs:

  • $72 million for business loans and grants;
  • $90 million for investments in business resiliency;
  • $90 million for “Game-Changer Investment Competition” to reward innovative ideas for spurring economic development in hard hit areas; and
  • $41 million for a competition to develop resilient technologies.

Property owners are expected to receive notices of the revised assessments this week, according to the city.

The reduction in tax revenue has already been factored into the city’s budget, Bloomberg announced.

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