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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to Provide Tax Relief for Property Owners Impacted by Sandy

April 28, 2015

City legislation provides long-term financial relief for property owners who experienced significant increases in property taxes, part of de Blasio Administration’s Sandy recovery overhaul

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today signed legislation to provide long-term property tax relief to property owners who rebuilt and repaired homes and businesses damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

State and City legislation signed into law last year authorized the City to address similar concerns with a one-year abatement, as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Sandy recovery overhaul that streamlined Build it Back and provided direct financial relief to homeowners.

Today’s bill, which was approved by the City Council on April 16, creates a long-term solution to provide tax relief to property owners impacted by Sandy through 2020. The State Senate and Assembly have both passed required State legislation, which will now be delivered to the Governor for his signature.

Many homeowners and business owners saw significant increases in their property taxes after rebuilding or repairing property damaged by Sandy. Intro. 727 allows the City to limit increases in assessed value for homes or businesses that underwent construction or repairs after the storm, providing much-needed relief to property owners who received significantly larger tax bills as a result of their renovations.

This legislation lowers the assessed value of property that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and whose assessed value subsequently increased between 2013 and 2014 due to renovations or reconstruction. The legislation ensures that most of the owners of affected properties will receive a tax bill similar to what they would have received had the storm never occurred.

To qualify for this tax relief, the property must meet the following criteria:

  • The Department of Finance decreased the assessed value of the building on the property in 2013 from the assessed value in 2012 because of damage resulting from Hurricane Sandy
  • DOF increased, or will increase, the assessed value as a result of repairs or reconstruction of damage caused by Sandy on any assessment roll completed from 2014 through 2020

“After Sandy, property owners put significant amounts of time, energy and money into rebuilding and repairing their homes and businesses. The terrible emotional impact of Sandy was worsened by its financial impact, and New Yorkers shouldn’t be penalized for recovering from this disaster,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership, and Council Member Ignizio for sponsoring this legislation. I also want to thank the State Legislature and Assembly Speaker Heastie for his leadership, as well as State Senator Lanza and Assembly Member Goldfeder for sponsoring the legislation that will authorize this law.”

“Natural disaster victims who have the perseverance to rebuild their lives shouldn’t face increased taxes as a result,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank my colleagues on the Council and the de Blasio Administration for standing up to protect those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.”

“When I identified a quirk in the property tax law which would have imposed a ‘Sandy tax’ on the very people we were trying to help recover, I pledged to work with the Mayor’s Office and colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in all legislative houses to fix it. Today is the culmination of that great partnership and will usher in sorely needed relief now and well into the future for thousands of families and businesses that were devastated by Sandy,” said Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio. “I want to personally think Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, Senator Lanza as well as Assemblyman Goldfeder for their efforts to make this happen as well.”

“This bill is common sense legislation that protects property owners whose homes were devastated by Superstorm Sandy from being penalized for rebuilding those homes. The legislation is a long-term solution to ensure that these homeowners see the same tax bill they would have seen had the storm never occurred,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Committee on Finance.

“Superstorm Sandy took a devastating toll on countless New York families,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “As they rebuild and recover, they should not have to face additional financial hurdles. I commend Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate for standing up for New Yorkers as they put the pieces back together after Sandy.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Ferraras and Ignizio for their leadership in fighting for property tax relief for Brooklynites and all New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Homeowners saw their lives turned upside down as a result of Sandy, and those that have rebuilt, and done so more resiliently, should not be penalized for their efforts. Instead, they should be applauded for adapting to a world that is increasingly affected by climate change and the environmental and economic costs that it brings,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“The relief will have a direct and tangible impact for property owners to rebuild stronger and with greater resiliency in a post-Sandy world,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Many who were affected by Hurricane Sandy put every available dollar into rebuilding and repairing their homes in the wake of this storm. This law will make sure owners are not penalized by increases in their property taxes just because of the work they did to make their homes and neighborhoods whole again. Congratulations to Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Ferreras and Ignizio for sponsoring this vital piece of legislation, and I commend Mayor de Blasio for signing this property tax bill into law.”

“This expanded property tax exemption for Sandy rebuilds is righting a potential wrong before it happens. The last thing a Sandy-affected family should receive is a higher tax bill after years of fighting to get back home. This tax relief will avoid adding insult to injury to the many who were displaced by the storm. Councilman Ignizio deserves a lot of credit for bringing everyone together to get this done, and I thank the Mayor for doing right by these families by signing this into law,” said Council Member Steven Matteo.

“Three years after Superstorm Sandy devastated the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, many homeowners still face great challenges that prevent them from moving forward with their lives,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.  “Coupled with new guidelines for flood insurance, the property tax increase threatens to increase the financial burden on many hardworking families already in a vulnerable position. I applaud the efforts of the administration and my colleagues in the council to reevaluate the current tax guidelines and for working diligently to provide much need and substantial long term tax relief for property owners that were victimized by the storm.”

“New York homeowners who suffered the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy shouldn't have to pay the price for choosing to rebuild their homes stronger and safer. By choosing to stay in these communities and restore their neighborhoods they are helping to build an even better New York and are deserving of this much need property tax relief. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for doing right by these New Yorkers,” said Senate Coalition Co-Leader Senator Jeff Klein.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “I  represent a major part of the Rockaways, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and saw first-hand the struggles residents faced in trying to rebuild not only their homes, but their lives. These hardworking members of our community should not be penalized with higher taxes for making necessary repairs to their storm ravaged homes. I applaud this new common sense legislation, which will ease the financial burden for those who have already suffered through so much.”

“More than two and a half years after Sandy devastated our communities, many families are faced with mounting financial and personal costs as they still struggle to recover and rebuild. This new law will ensure these Sandy victims are not penalized with higher taxes simply for rebuilding what was lost. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for providing families in southern Queens and Rockaway with the property tax relief that will help us rebuild stronger and become more resilient for the future,” said Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder.

“In the two and half years since Sandy, I’ve had too many families in my district office that were tapped out financially, caught in government’s red tape and couldn’t get the help they needed.  So many have used their life savings, maxed out their credit cards and took loans to rebuild following Hurricane Sandy only to get hit with astronomical property taxes. This simple correction fixes an unintended consequence that penalized those who made the sacrifice and took the initiative to get their families home as soon as possible. I thank the Mayor, City Council and my colleagues in the legislature for working together to get this done,” said Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis.

“More than two years after Sandy, many property owners in my community and other storm-impacted neighborhoods are still struggling to recover. For too many, the financial devastation they have endured has been worse than the physical damage to their property,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “Helping New York City homeowners and business owners with much-needed financial relief will have a ripple effect on our economy and serve as a show of faith for the future.”

In addition to Intro. 727, the Mayor also signed Intro. 747, which moves the deadline for submission of the Executive Budget to the City Council to May 7, and adjusts deadlines for corresponding Charter-mandated actions required during the Executive Budget process. This bill was approved by the City Council during the Stated Meeting on April 16. In his remarks, Mayor de Blasio thanked the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Julissa Ferraras.

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