FORT PLAIN, N.Y. – After touring the damage left behind by recent storms in the village and surrounding areas, Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk introduced new legislation that would help support property owners in flood-ravaged portions of her Senate District.
Tkaczyk said she began preparing the legislation after touring Fort Plain, where she saw first-hand the extent of the storm's devastation, which damaged or destroyed more than 250 homes.
"It is important that we provide immediate relief to the property owners who have been hit the hardest," Tkaczyk said. "But we have to ensure that local governments are not doubly saddled with the cost of recovery as well as the loss of revenues from sales tax, property tax and other sources."
The new measure would allow businesses and homeowners in Montgomery County who have been affected by the flooding to have their property taxes reassessed and lowered to reflect the flood-damaged status of their home or property.
"Under the current law, property owners would still have to pay taxes based on the pre-flood condition and value of their property, which is simply not fair," Tkaczyk said. "My legislation would lower their tax bill to compensate for the decreased value of their property."
Under the Flood Assessment Relief Act of 2013, property owners would be able to seek a reassessment from the local Board of Assessment Review, and local assessors would be authorized to request that assessments of seriously damaged homes be based on the property's after-flood value.
This type of state relief would be particularly important if a federal disaster declaration is not declared. Tkaczyk is hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will declare the flooded regions of the State a disaster area, which would open the door to federal assistance for recovery efforts.
She said she supported Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to call the state legislature back to address the recent flood damage if the federal government declines to issue a disaster declaration. So far, FEMA officials say they are reviewing requests and working with the state on going over damage assessments.