Letter: Tweak rebuilding bill

The Town of Hempstead bay houses suffered massive

The Town of Hempstead bay houses suffered massive damage and loss from Superstorm Sandy. This bay house has collapsed into Woodmere Creek, yet the flag still flies. (Nov.21, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday Audrey C. Tiernan

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The article "Bill to lower taxes on damaged homes" [News, Dec. 11] was very informative. One might question the cutoff of the program, which is set at 50 percent or more of the home's value. Even far less damage drops resale value thousands of dollars.

But an issue not addressed is that many homeowners and business owners will find their tax bill going up when they finish the repairs and rebuilding, adding insult to injury.

New York State law allows a multiyear phase-in of higher taxes for repairs and improvements. There are limits, but most local towns and villages participate in this program. However, you must ask for the phase-in. The program should be expanded in value, tied to storm damage and publicized.

Concerning the homes that lost more than 50 percent of their value, what's not mentioned is that those homes will be rebuilt as a "new" home, according to state building codes. The resulting structure may not qualify for the phase-in, and the current values fall short of real help.

Many homeowners and business owners are going to rebuild their lives only to find vastly increased tax bills.

Ed Silsbe, Blue Point

Editor's note: The writer is an architect.

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