Pols against property tax hikes


| smosco@queenscourier.com |

When the taxman calls, you’d better answer.

And city elected officials are answering to the latest property tax assessments by the Department of Finance (DOF) — assessments which call for hikes among residential houses, co-ops and businesses.

“These latest assessments are a red flag for businesses and residential property owners alike that the administration of New York City’s property tax system by the Department of Finance is flawed,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “Businesses looking to come to New York City need to know that city agencies can administer taxes in a way that is correct and fair.”

According to the DOF’s assessments, the total market value for property in Queens rose an average of 2.2 percent to $207.5 billion. A single-family homeowner in Queens will owe another 2.9 percent in property taxes, bringing the average bill to $3,995. For co-op owners, the average bill will increase 4.1 percent to $2,460.83, while the average condo bill will go down 7.8 percent to $2,083.10.

Citywide, however, condo bills will go up along with residences and co-ops. The deadline for homeowners to file challenges to these assessments is March 19 for small homeowners and March 5 for everyone else.

Councilmember Mark Weprin said that city homeowners should not have to be worry about these assessments constantly raising their property taxes.

“This system is out of control and we’re going to have to make fundamental changes,” he said. “Property owners throughout the city should not be blindsided each year by ridiculous assessments. We need a consistent system free of computer glitches that yields no surprises.”

Speaker Quinn said that any spike in property taxes could also be detrimental to city business. She cited that the value of Google’s property in Chelsea increased 40 percent last year to $816.6 million. That tax bill will now skyrocket by $3.9 million to $26.4 million.

“The council and administration helped bring Google, the mecca of all tech companies, to New York City,” she said. “Google made a long-term commitment to the city, and the very next year their property tax assessments jumped dramatically. Changes like this do not inspire confidence in the system.”