On October 29, 2012 my husband was a member of the first FDNY unit to respond to Breezy Point. While they tried to stop homes from being destroyed by fire, our home was being destroyed by flooding. The cost of the repairs are extensive and we will be required to mitigate future flood damage by raising our home or be forced to pay up to $9,500 per year for flood insurance. The cost of this will put us well over the threshold of 50% of the value of the house alone. As a result the work will be deemed "new construction" and will expose us to even higher property taxes.
Like many people, just the costs of repairing our home will put an extreme financial burden on us. It would be a travesty to fix our family home after being displaced from it for months by Superstorm Sandy only to have to lose it because we can't afford to pay the new taxes. Mother Nature has knocked us down but she couldn't knock us out. We can't allow taxes to do the job that nature couldn't.
We are proposing a 10 year moratorium on property tax increases for homes that were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. We're not asking to not pay taxes, just that we not be assessed higher taxes for repairing our homes. It would work like this:
For 10 years any home that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy would continue to pay taxes at their current rate.
After 10 years all properties would be assessed and taxes would be set accordingly.
To prevent abuse of this grace period the tax benefits would only apply to homes that were owner occupied at the time of the storm. It would not apply to rental properties or second homes.
The home must be continually occupied as a primary residence by the owner. It cannot be turned into a rental property.
If a home is sold/transferred to someone other than an immediate family member the tax moratorium is lifted for the property and taxes will be raised accordingly.
We all bought our homes in the communities we did because we love these communities. We don't want to leave. They are the places we grew up or where we started our own families. Our children have made lasting friendships in school. We are local business owners. We are volunteer firefighters. These communities are not just where we live. They are part of us. My husband and I bought our home right next to my childhood home. Our neighbors are our daughters' Nanny & Poppy. They've grown up walking out of our back door and into Nanny & Poppy's house. We've seen how being displaced since the storm has affected that bond. It will be a tragedy if it becomes permanent.
Please sign the petition (and help us) to help those of us decimated by Superstorm Sandy keep our homes, our families, and our communities together.
Beth Henry started this petition with a single signature, and now has 748 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.