Hurricane Sandy packed a punch...and too many homeowners had - and still have - it tough, particularly regarding real property damage. But storm victims in the Town of Hempstead will receive a break in the pocketbooks: by way of property tax relief.
At the November 26 Town Board meeting, my colleagues and I on the Town Board voted to “opt-in” to the Nassau County tax refund program through the New York State Sandy Assessment Relief Act. The county will adjust retroactively any property tax assessment to account for losses due to Superstorm Sandy within the Town of Hempstead. While the state ensures relief for buildings that lost 50% or more of their value, the town now is participating in the county-administered program to give property tax relief to those whose buildings lost between 10% and 49% of their value.
This will reduce the tax burdens of those owning homes damaged by Sandy, allowing homeowners to focus on the difficult task of rebuilding their homes and lives. It will enable property owners victimized by Sandy to receive a tax refund or credit. This is a measure that is long overdue.
Previously, the Sandy Property Damage Review process had only the option of reducing the land valuation of an assessment - this state regulation allows for more sweeping assistance.
Propertyowners who previously filed a “Property Damage Review Form” with the Department of Assessment will not have to resubmit additional paperwork, unless asked to do so due to incomplete information.
However, if residents have additional cost information that was not submitted with their original application, it should be submitted to the Department of Assessment immediately at 240 Old Country Road in Mineola. Homeowners who have yet to report structural damages caused by Sandy may be asked to submit a property damage review form that is prepared by the New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services.
More than a year later, residents are still feeling the devastation of this tragic storm. Anything I can do to lessen the impact on neighbors' own or family finances is a something that I will happily do. Property tax relief is certainly a way to accomplish that.