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Brookhaven OKs Sandy assessment relief program

Edward P. Romaine is the Brookhaven town supervisor.

Edward P. Romaine is the Brookhaven town supervisor. (Sept. 4 , 2012) Credit: David Pokress

The Town of Brookhaven has joined at least five other Long Island municipalities that adopted a state law offering tax relief to property owners affected by superstorm Sandy.

Officials in Brookhaven, where the October 2012 storm flooded hundreds of homes in communities such as Mastic Beach and on Fire Island, said the program would reduce property assessments by 15 to 95 percent on parcels that suffered substantial damage.

Assessment reductions, which would lower taxes and be retroactive to Oct. 29, 2012, the day Sandy struck, vary depending on the degree of damage.

The town board unanimously approved the relief law at its Dec. 3 meeting. Brookhaven property owners must submit applications by Jan. 21 to have their assessments lowered.

A resident who asked not to be identified out of privacy concerns said she hoped a tax reduction partially compensates for the estimated $200,000 in damage to her Blue Point home.

Speaking to the town board before it voted, she urged members to adopt the law. "Our house is nothing but a shell," said the woman, who said 94 percent of the home was destroyed and that she has had to move out of the damaged dwelling and lives in Patchogue. "We have no walls, we have no floors, nothing."

Completed applications, with supporting documents such as photographs, must be delivered to the town assessor's office at Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville.

Suffolk County and towns from Hempstead to Southold were among the Long Island municipalities that also adopted the state Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act. South Shore villages such as Lindenhurst and Amityville also adopted the measure.

"So many people were affected by superstorm Sandy and even after a year later, some are still unable to return to their homes or businesses," Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in a statement. "It's only right that we help them recover and rebuild by easing their tax burden so they can get back on their feet and on with their lives."

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