Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel today announced new property tax relief initiatives to assist New Yorkers whose homes were severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. To provide immediate relief, the Finance Department, with the authorization of the City Council, will issue an interest-free extension on the next property tax bill for residential properties damaged beyond repair or in need of extensive structural repairs before they can be re-inhabited. The grace period will postpone payments due on January 1, 2013 to April 1, 2013.
The City also proposed to reimburse homeowners for a portion of the property taxes due this Fiscal Year so that the payments more accurately reflect properties’ post-storm values. The reimbursement measure would require approval from the State Legislature. The Mayor, Speaker and Commissioner made the announcement on Staten Island at one of the City’s seven Restoration Centers. They were joined by Council Members James S. Oddo, Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Deborah Rose and Michael Nelson, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“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 Mayor 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.”
“Helping property owners whose homes were destroyed by Sandy is a no-brainer,” said Speaker Quinn. “A property tax rebate and grace period to pay bills are two small steps we can and will make happen. The Council will approve the grace period at our next stated meeting and this rebate will be the quickest and easiest way to get cash directly into the hands of these homeowners - one of the most important things we can do right now in this long road to recovery. I want to thank Council Members Oddo and Ignizio for first proposing this idea and for the Bloomberg administration for working with us to pursue this vital rebate and grace period.”
"This storm has presented the City with a unique set of circumstances and requires a unique recovery effort,” said Finance Commissioner Frankel. “For those who have lost their home, or whose homes have been deemed uninhabitable due to this unprecedented storm, we hope to provide a little bit of relief during this trying time. I’d like to thank the Mayor and the City Council and their staffs, as well as the Department of Buildings, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Emergency Management and the hard-working team at the Department of Finance for their tremendous efforts developing this program.”
“Mayor Bloomberg and our entire Administration are committed to working with impacted homeowners and all displaced New Yorkers to get them back in their homes as fast as possible – and to providing whatever relief we can in the interim,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “This interest-free extension will allow impacted New Yorkers to focus on what matters most during the ongoing work of recovery.”
“We promised those Staten islanders and New Yorkers severely impacted by Sandy that we would help them in every way possible,” said Council Member Oddo, Council Minority Leader. “Providing some relief from property taxes is one way of fulfilling that commitment. A few weeks ago, property owner John Toto asked Senator Andrew Lanza and I for help with his taxes. We in turn reached out immediately reached out to Speaker Quinn, who collaborated with the Administration to get us to today. We will continue to work together to find other ways of honoring the covenant we made with these folks to assist them further during this critical time.”
“The road to recovery is going to be long and arduous for many New Yorkers who face significant financial hurdles as they work to rebuild their homes,” said Council Member Recchia, Council Finance Chair. “It is critical that government at all levels remain committed to working together to ease some of the hardship facing these families. The property tax initiatives announced today are a positive step forward in providing homeowners with relief at a time when it is needed most.”
“The city has committed to using all the tools in its toolbox to help those who lost so much because of Hurricane Sandy, and this is yet one more great example,” said Council Member Vincent Ignizio. “This will go a long way of relieving the financial burden and stress placed upon homeowners, some of whose homes no longer exist. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, Minority Leader Oddo and all of my colleagues for working as a true team and making this happen.”
The interest-free extension will apply to Class 1 and 2 residential properties that received a red tag from the Department of Buildings, meaning they must require extensive structural repairs before they can be re-inhabited or must be demolish. Quarterly and semi-annual payments typically due on January 1, 2013, will be delayed to April 1, 2013. More than 3,000 properties are eligible for the extension, and the average property tax bill is $506. The City Council must authorize the proposal before the Finance Department may issue the extension.
Property taxes for the current fiscal year (Fiscal Year 2013) reflect assessments made in May 2012. The Mayor, Speaker and City officials have proposed a reimbursement for a portion of the taxes paid this fiscal year. If enacted, more than 900 properties would be eligible, with an average rebate of $794. The Finance Department is also working to ensure that the property tax assessments for FY 2014 reflect the post-hurricane conditions.
Mayor Bloomberg has announced several relief programs for home owners impacted by Hurricane Sandy. NYC Rapid Repairs, a first-of-its-kind program that sends contractors and City inspectors to restore power, heat and hot water to impacted homes, has deployed more than 100 teams to damaged areas. More than 9,300 homeowners have enrolled and 3,400 assessments have been completed. The City has authorized $500 million for the Rapid Repairs program. Homeowners must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive an ID number by visiting disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-3362. Enrollment in NYC Rapid Repairs can be done on nyc.gov or by calling 311.