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Lindenhurst mulls Sandy assessment relief

The Village of Lindenhurst is holding a public hearing Tuesday night on a new tax law calling for assessment relief for properties impacted by superstorm Sandy.

The state enacted the Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act earlier this year, allowing taxing jurisdictions to opt into the relief program. The act says 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 proposed Lindenhurst law will limit the tax rebates to those with 50 percent or greater damage to their homes, said clerk-treasurer Shawn Cullinane.

Municipalities can enact assessment relief laws below the 50 percent mark, though most villages have stayed at 50 percent. Babylon and Islip towns last month approved laws allowing those with at least 10 percent damage to apply for rebates.

Lindenhurst Mayor Thomas Brennan said at a village board meeting last month that the law would "absolutely not" go lower than 50 percent, citing the financial impact to the village.

Brennan noted that the county is starting at 10 percent, but said the county is being reimbursed by the state, while the village is getting "absolutely nothing." "As a village, we are the ugly stepchild," he said. "So we have to make that up."

The law must be enacted by Friday, Cullinane said, and residents have to apply by Jan. 21. He said applicants must have a letter from the village building inspector stating the percentage of damage to their property.

The hearing will be held at village hall at 7:30 p.m.

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