County: Federal funds will offset property taxes

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency verified that 35,405 owner-occupied homes and 9,143 rental properties in Nassau lost property value in Hurricane Sandy, according to New York’s action plan. The plan estimated the total property-value loss for homes countywide at $5.2 billion. Businesses in Nassau and Suffolk have been left with an average of $67,500 in non-covered Hurricane Sandy-related expenses, according to an Empire State Development Corporation estimate.

In January, the county Department of Assessment sent property owners its annual assessment disclosure notice, which included a “Property Damage Review Form” for owners to document structural damage from Hurricane Sandy. Before a May 1 deadline, the county received 4,611 claims from residential owners and 394 claims from commercial owners. Those that the county deems legitimate will now be eligible for a property-tax reduction.

“Our inspector will go and check out the claims,” Nevin said. “We will offer those homeowners an exemption on their property taxes. The balance of the HUD money will go to make the schools and municipalities whole.”

Reaction is positive

The home of Merrick resident Robert Karol escaped damage from Hurricane Sandy, though he lives just blocks from houses that sustained thousands of dollars worth of flood damage during the October storm. He said he hopes the new federal funding would translate to a reduction on homeowners’ property-tax bills. “The county could use all the relief it could get,” Karol said. “It’s great that HUD could provide relief.”

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose congressional district includes a stretch of the South Shore from the Five Towns to Wantagh, also praised HUD for providing disaster-relief dollars. “The federal government is doing its job — helping communities recover from a large disaster when local government can’t do it alone — and I commend HUD and my colleagues in Congress who are supporting this badly needed relief,” she stated in an email.

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