Community Association urges tax relief
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Margolin pointed out that Gibson homeowners living in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District could see an even greater tax hike than average next year. He said many homes suffered flood damage from Hurricane Sandy, and if the value of those homes is lowered, or if they come off the tax rolls altogether, the district could have to look to everyone else to cover the difference to fund its budget. It’s better to absorb a tax increase on a lower assessment than a higher one, he explained.
County assessment challenges can be filed from Jan. 1 through March 1, Bonventure explained, although any changes wouldn’t take effect until October 2014. For the village, there is a two-week window in February to file an appeal.
Residents could hire an expert like Bonventure to file the appeal on their behalf, or complete the application on their own. Tax professionals, as their fee, typically get 40 to 50 percent of any refund. Bonventure said the process can seem overwhelming, but is really not that complicated.
Carol Crupi, president of the Community Association, gave an update on the situation with the flood maps. She said FEMA was supposed to hold a community meeting in November, but that was pushed back because of Hurricane Sandy. It is now scheduled for Jan. 3 in the Village Hall courtroom.
She said residents will have an opportunity to question FEMA representatives. The agency, at the direction of Congress, must re-draw Nassau County’s flood maps using relevant, local data.
Community Association leaders said that was the problem in the first place. FEMA never sought information from the village which, according to local officials, has records dating back to 1938 indicating that the Gibson section of Valley Stream has never experienced significant coastal flooding.
Margolin said during a community meeting with FEMA officials two years ago, also at Central, residents were told historical evidence was used to create the maps. To this day, Margolin said he has never received an answer as to what that evidence was.