On the morning of December 2, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed an 18.49 percent property tax increase into law, the largest such increase in city history, but much lower than the 25 percent he originally proposed.
Regardless of whether the tax-hike weighed in at 25 percent, 5 percent - or 18.5 percent, which wound up being the final number - what New York City co-op and condo owners wanted to know was, how would it affect them, their buildings, and their bottom line?
Well, according to the New York City Department of Finance, the "˜average' co-op apartment (valued at $360,000) will be assessed an extra $390 between now and June 30, 2003, and - if renewed in time - another $390 between July 1, 2003 and June 30th of 2004, for a total tax increase of $780 dollars over the next 18 months. The owner of the average condo, valued at around $120,566 by the finance department, will have to come up with an extra $418 between now and June 30th of next year, and another $418 for the following fiscal year, making a condo owner's total assessment a healthy $836 over the next year-and-a-half.
Because the tax was voted in as a midyear modification, it will only be applicable for the second half of this fiscal year, from January to July, having the equivalent impact of a nine-plus percent annual increase. For the Taxpayers for an Affordable New York (TANY) coalition - a group devoted to tax-burden fairness and advocacy - this means that the most important phase of its campaign begins now. Already, the group is rallying its forces to address the tax increase when it comes up for review in May or June of 2003.
According to Mickey Cohen, a broker for Charles H. Greenthal in Manhattan, the speed with which this budget modification was pushed through "reflects the seriousness of the need for money in this city." It's a seriousness that is bonding New Yorkers in a veritable Sinatra-singing celebration of the city they love, for which sacrifices must be made.