Lindenhurst offering Sandy property tax relief

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The Village of Lindenhurst has approved a new tax law allowing assessment relief for properties impacted by superstorm Sandy.

The village board voted unanimously on Tuesday to opt into the state's Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act, enacted earlier this year. The act states that municipalities can adopt a law that grants assessment relief to those impacted by Sandy, with municipalities granting residents a rebate of last year's taxes based on a formula established by the state. That formula uses a scale based on the amount of damage incurred, starting at 50 percent.

The new Lindenhurst law will limit the tax rebates to those with 50 percent or greater damage to their homes. The board vote came after a public hearing at which numerous residents, still reeling from Sandy a year later, pleaded with officials to enact the relief law.

"We're trying to help the people who were hurt the most, that's what it all comes down to," Mayor Thomas Brennan said.

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Some residents pressed officials on why, unlike Suffolk County and Babylon Town, the village did not allow the scale of damage to start at 10 percent. Brennan reiterated that unlike towns and counties, the village would not be reimbursed the rebated tax money. He estimated the village will have to refund about $100,000.

"I'm sure a lot of people want more," he told the crowd. "But there's only so much we can afford and you have to be realistic."

The Village of Amityville last week approved a relief law for 50 percent or more damage, citing an expected refund of $30,000. Babylon Village did not respond to a request for comment. Municipalities have until Friday to opt into the relief act.

It remains unclear in what form the rebates will be given to residents. Brennan said depending on the amount of money owed, the refunds could take the form of cash, credits or a combination.

To qualify, residents must have a letter from the village building inspector stating the percentage of damage to their property. Applications for the refunds will be available at village hall starting Thursday, officials said, and residents have until Jan. 21 to apply.

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