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Canajoharie, NY ,

Tax relief coming for flood victims?

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Updated: 2:45 AM


For the C-S-E

FONDA -- The Montgomery County Education and Government Committee has moved a resolution to the full Legislature opting into a program that will provide tax relief to flood victims.

Committee Chairman and District 4 Legislator Ryan Weitz said the program is part of the state's Mohawk Valley and Niagara County assessment relief act, which allows municipalities affected by the floods of 2013 to reassess property that suffered damage.

"[Property owners] paid taxes on the pre-flood value of their property so if they lost 10 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent, they had to pay on what it was in January 2013," Weitz said. "What this allows is for rebates to be sent to those property owners because for half of the year those values may have been devalued by half."

The municipalities in Montgomery County eligible for the rebates include Fort Plain and the town of Minden, he said, adding that it applies to homeowners with at least 10 percent damage.

The Fort Plain Central School District is also eligible since school districts are held harmless for the loss of STAR reimbursement by the state as a result of lowered assessments, according to the legislation.

County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman said this would cost the county approximately $17,664 which would be taken out of the county's fund balance.

Minden Tax Assessor Robert Harris said the figures are not finalized and could change.

"I have tried to identify all the properties in the jurisdiction and properties that would qualify at various levels," he said, adding that non-residential properties are not eligible, some homeowners have walked away from their property, and other won't apply.

For those who do apply, some may not agree with their assessment.

"This means they could get a higher reduction," Harris said.

Weitz said it would provide relief for many homeowners.

"At $17,664, this may not seem like much from our end but it can make a big difference on the other end," he said. "This is the right thing to do and we got to do it."

District 9 Alexander Kuchis agreed.

"It may be low but when you think about someone with modest $80,000 homes and they got over $8,000 in damage, that is a hefty bill to pay," he said. "Any help we can give them would be great."


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