Tag Archives: property tax

Quinn focuses on middle class in State of the City address


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Official NYC City Council photo by William Alatriste

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in her final State of the City address, promised it would become more affordable to live and work in New York in the years to come.

Quinn, who will be term limited out of the Council at the end of this year, is a heavy favorite on the Democratic side as a mayoral candidate.

“Every day, as I travel the five boroughs, I talk to people with those same hopes for the future, with the same incredible work ethic, and the same belief that there is no better place to be than New York City,” Quinn said. “I’m incredibly proud that in the last seven years, this City Council has built a record, not of words and criticisms, but of actions and results.”

In her hour-plus speech, Quinn promised to ensure the working middle class be able to stay and prosper in the city — and will do so through a number of current and future programs.

“Our top priority must be to keep our middle class here, attract new middle class families, and give every New Yorker the opportunity to enter the middle class,” she said. “Simply put, we face an affordability crisis in our city and it cuts right at the fabric of New York. We need to make sure that the people who want to stay in our great city can afford to stay here.”

On a related note, Quinn announced an incentive for residential building owners to convert a certain number of units into affordable housing. In return, the city will cap property taxes on the building based on rental intake.

“It’s a win for them, a win for middle class renters, and a win for the city,” Quinn said. “This is how we retain economic diversity in neighborhoods that have become harder to reach for the middle class.”

 

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Bloomberg offers tax break for homeowners affected by Sandy


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the mayor's office/Edward Reed

Owners of homes ravaged by Superstorm Sandy will be receiving a break on their property taxes, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday on the one month anniversary of the storm.

Bloomberg proposed a resolution to reimburse a portion of homeowners’ property tax bill so it falls more in line with the home’s post-Sandy values.  The average reimbursement would be $794 for the 900 homeowners that are eligible, according to the mayor’s office. The proposal requires approval from the state Legislature.

The mayor made the announcement at one of the city’s seven restoration centers on Staten Island. He was joined by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel and several Staten Island politicians.

“We are working to help the thousands of New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy, and those who suffered severe damage face a long period of uncertainty and considerable expense in making decisions about rebuilding and returning to their homes,” said Bloomberg. “We want to do all that we can to ease their heavy burdens, and working with the Speaker, City Council and State Legislature, we will secure two property tax measures that provide a small measure of relief to those who need it most.”

The mayor also announced that homeowners whose residences received a red tag will receive a interest-free three month extension on the next property tax bill, which averages $506, postponing the payment from January to April of next year.

The City Council must approve the proposal.

‘Landmark’ tax relief on the way for co-op and condo owners


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Co-op and condo owners left in the lurch after state lawmakers originally closed the year’s session without passing key pieces of legislation will not be forsaken for long, officials pledged.

The Assembly, Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo have reached an agreement on “landmark” tax relief legislation that will be signed into law later this year when legislators return to Albany, according to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“In the short term, the city has issued tax bills for the current fiscal year based on the current tax abatement rates,” Silver said. “When the legislation is signed into law as promised by the governor, we anticipate that the new lower rates will be effective retroactive to July 1.”

Co-op and condo community leaders said the state Legislature left them “high and dry” last week after lawmakers adjourned the session without extending the city’s J-51 program and its tax abatement program. A bill that would put a halt to skyrocketing property tax valuations was also not addressed by the end of the session, they said.

The J-51 program gives owners partial property tax exemptions for capital improvements, and the abatement reduces the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one-, two- and three-family homes in Class 1 — which are assessed at a lower percentage of market value.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, said residents would pay up to an additional $1,200 a year in maintenance costs without the abatement. Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc., also counted his potential losses, saying his community would lose out on about $1 million.

But local elected officials said co-op owners need not worry about tax increases in the near future. The abatement, which expired June 30, will be continued until the State Legislature reconvenes later this year to pass a new plan, they said.

Assemblymember Ed Braunstein said it was “highly likely” the legislature would also pass his bill, which would increase abatements for middle class co-op owners from 17.5 percent to 25 percent this year and over 28 percent in three years.

“Co-op owners should be encouraged that relief is right around the corner,” Braunstein said.

Meanwhile, co-op and condo community leaders said they remain hopeful for a more permanent, long-term fix on annual valuation spikes.

According to a summary report released by the Department of Finance (DOF) this year, taxes are expected to rise by 7.5 percent for co-op owners and 9.6 percent for condo owners across the city, while owners of single-family homes will see an increase of 2.8 percent. Last year, officials said, some co-op and condo valuations saw astronomical increases as high as 147 percent.

A pair of audits released this year by the city comptroller’s office found the DOF at fault for causing upheavals in condo and co-op property values — a determining factor in property taxes — when it changed its formula for calculating them in fiscal year 2011-12.

Still, a proposed “8/30” valuation cap — which would have limited property tax increases to 8 percent per year or 30 percent over five years — was not passed, and Friedrich said he does not expect a solution to be reached for another year.

“I am optimistic, but actions do speak louder than words,” he said.

Co-op, condo owners left in the lurch


| mchan@queenscourier.com

City co-op and condo owners were dealt a major blow by the State Legislature after lawmakers wrapped up the year’s session without passing three key bills, including one that would put a halt to skyrocketing property tax valuations.

“Three strikes and you’re out. This was a disastrous session if you’re a co-op or condo owner,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village Owners, Inc. and cofounder of the President’s Co-op and Condo Council. “The State Legislature left us high and dry.”

State lawmakers had until June 21 to give bills the green light before reconvening next January. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the 2012 session was “one of the most successful in modern political history,” touting accomplishments reached in pension tiers, teacher evaluations and better protections for people with disabilities.

But co-op and condo community activists said legislative leaders adjourned the session without extending the city’s J-51 program, its tax abatement program and not resolving valuation issues. The lack of passage could rip holes through 360,000 residents’ pockets, they said.

“These three issues are not sensitive, political issues. It’s not controversial. It’s simply renewing existing laws that already have widespread support,” Friedrich said. “And yet the legislators, who are paid very well to do their job, came out empty handed.”

The city’s J-51 Program, in existence for decades, gave owners partial property tax exemptions to encourage them to renovate residential apartment buildings, while its property tax abatement program, established in 1996, reduced the difference in property taxes paid by Class 2 co-op and condo properties and one, two and three family homes in Class 1 — which are assessed at a lower percentage of market value.

Friedrich, who expected the abatement to be extended, said if a special session is not called this year to renew the program, Glen Oaks Village alone would lose out on about $1 million, which he said would eventually come out of shareholders’ wallets.

Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and cofounder of the President’s Co-op and Condo Council, predicted similar revenue losses — which he said would lead to 17 to 25 percent maintenance increases for residents.

“We were all terribly disappointed. These were programs that we already had,” he said. “This will be economically devastating for some residents.”

According to a summary report released by the Department of Finance (DOF) this year, taxes are expected to rise by 7.5 percent for co-op owners and 9.6 percent for condo owners across the city, while owners of single-family homes will see an increase of 2.8 percent. Last year, officials said, some co-op and condo valuations saw astronomical increases as high as 147 percent.

A pair of audits released this year by the city’s comptroller office found the DOF at fault for causing upheavals in condo and co-op property values — a determining factor in property taxes — when it changed its formula for calculating them in Fiscal Year 2011-12.

A “8/30” cap proposed to relieve co-op and condo owners would have limited property tax increases to 8 percent per year or 30 percent over five years, but President’s Co-op and Condo Council officials said they do not expect a fix to be made for another year.

Meanwhile, rumors have been swarming that Cuomo will call lawmakers back to Albany for a special session before the year’s end, reportedly to approve the tax abatement extension.

Councilmember Mark Weprin said “for a fact” the abatement would be renewed and “improved” this year in the fall under Assemblymember Ed Brauinstein’s bill and an agreement with the state.

“It’s not a ‘major blow.’ Once it’s passed, it’ll be a huge victory,” Weprin said.

Despite the unofficial pledge, State Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymembers David Weprin and Mike Simanowitz announced they would be holding a press conference on Monday to rally for the abatement renewal.