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
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.
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