2013-01-25 / Letters

Tax Relief Now

Dear Editor:

In an article in the Daily News Real Estate Section, Rockaway real estate is cited as decreasing by 30 percent. That aside, the Department of Finance is requesting individual homeowners fill out the form entitled, Property Damage Reporting Application on line or download it and send it in regular mail. In addition to that form, I’ve been told homeowners will have to get their houses appraised and contact the Bureau of Finance, real estate division to reflect the appraisal on our next year’s bill. This might have to be contested on Sutphin Boulevard to challenge our real estate bills for 2013-14. If contested and lost, the homeowner, if she chooses to appeal, must pay for the privilege of an appeal, an added expense and a slap in the face to Sandy victims who have been slapped enough.

My point is if it is a fact that the minimum houses decreased in value was 30 percent why doesn’t the Dept. of Finance give each homeowner the 30 percent appraisal automatically and then readjust our real estate bills as a matter of course? Likewise if a homeowner lost his home entirely, he shouldn’t have to file a million papers to have his real estate bill adjusted to reflect he is paying for the land only. Won’t a photograph and a notarized statement do?

If homeowners have total losses or losses greater than 30 percent, then let them file individually to get the credit they deserve and can prove. This filing and all hearings should take place in Rockaway, not on Sutphin Blvd. as many of those who lost their homes also lost their means of transportation.

It seems the city has the opportunity to do Sandy victims a favor especially those who are re-building and or renovating. That they would force us to jump through bureaucratic hoops when we are just trying to keep our head above water what with fighting multiple insurance companies, appealing FEMA, auto purchases and registrations, hiring contractors and trying not to get ripped off. The least the city could do is to give us a 30 percent across the board Real Estate tax deduction as a good will leg up.

It is painfully obvious that the city is expecting many homeowners not to file for lack of notice or lack of communication ability. Thus, penalizing them by increasing their real estate taxes the 4.4 percent that every homeowner expects to get instead of adjusting them due to Sandy, another gotcha moment.

Rockaway homeowners need an advocate who can find a better way than individual filing, to assess and lower real estate taxes for the present and foreseeable future until the value of our houses returns to what it was prior to Sandy.

Don’t play us for suckers, Mayor Mike, and tax us like the devastation never happened. Don’t add to our misery and force us to apply individually to different bureaus until we either run out of steam or die trying for an elusive decrease in homeowner RE taxes when you have secretly decreed Rockaway and other flood affected areas not get any dispensation for devastation. Help us lower our RE taxes in a simple, fair and empathetic manner. If meeting with city reps is required after all, relocate those reps for Queens to Rockaway. Don’t kick us when we are down. Is this asking too much of our city?


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