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Road to Recovery

Sandy-damaged homes to get refund checks

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More than 300 Seaford homeowners will get a post-holiday surprise this month — a tax refund check. The average refund, about $3,100, is to compensate 308 homeowners whose tax assessments were not adjusted lower for tax years 2012-13 and 2013-14 to reflect the damage from Superstorm Sandy.

“I got a check from my mortgage company,” said Bob Neenan of Sands Lane. “My house is a total loss, so this reduction helps.”

On Oct. 30, 2013, the “Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act” allowed Nassau County to adjust, retroactively, any property tax assessment to account for losses in home value due to Superstorm Sandy. The county bonded $35 million to pay the anticipated Sandy property tax over-assessment with a commitment from Governor Cuomo that the county would be repaid by New York State, explained Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.

Phil Franco, who lives on Willoughby Avenue, is still waiting for his check. “I’m hoping it comes soon,” said Franco. “It’s taken a long time. I called and called. It took me a long time to get through to the county.”

“I apologize if the payments took longer than originally expected but we had to verify every claim and ensure that our residents received the maximum reimbursements allowed by law,” Maragos explained. There are approximately 2,000 applicants whose claims require further determination by the county assessor. These refund checks may take somewhat longer and represent an additional $8 to $9 million in possible refunds.

The refund checks are another step towards recovery for many Sandy-affected homeowners. Seaford homeowners eligible for the reduction represent 4.6 percent of those Nassau County residents who will receive the Sandy refund. In Wantagh, 160 homeowners will also receive checks.

The largest number of checks will go to City of Long Beach, where 1,324 homeowners are receiving refunds, followed by 878 in Massapequa. “A lot of people didn’t get what they were supposed to get from their insurance company,” said Franco. “Any savings they had is gone and this check can make a big difference.”

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