New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that provides a property tax break for Syracuse property owners who buy flood insurance.
The bill offers a tax break for homes in a flood zone whose owners buy flood insurance and are in an economically stressed area, as designated by the city’s Neighborhood and Business Development Department. It also applies to households outside those designated economic areas with household income less than $62,985.
A home is only exempt for up to $81,000 in assessed value.
The house must be up-to-date on its taxes and the owner will have to apply for the credit through City Hall. It applies to owner-occupants and landlords of one-, two- and three-family homes.
State Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter drafted the legislation, which was sponsored by former State Sen. David Valesky. It passed both houses of the state legislature last summer. It came after the Syracuse Common Council requested a tax break for people affected by new flood maps in the city.
Hunter said last fall the flood insurance requirement unfairly hits the people least able to afford it. The tax break, she said, is intended to lessen that burden.
“It’s not like these people live in beachfront homes on ocean,” Hunter said. “These homes are in a poor area where people live along a creek that’s polluted.”
David Clifford, the city assessor, said his office will be sending letters to every eligible property owner sometime in the next 30 days. The letter will include information about the exemption and an application. He said the cost to the city will depend on how many applications received. He anticipated the cost to be minimal.
The exemption applies only to city property taxes, not school taxes or county taxes.
In Syracuse, there are 1,602 properties located in a flood zone. According to Stephanie Pasquale, Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development for the city, 636 of those are eligible for the tax break.
As of last year, 229 properties in the city had flood insurance, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Tribune Content Agency