Lead Paint, Taxes, Sidewalk Liability Top Legislative Agenda

Although most political watchdogs and legal experts cite the city and state budget woes as a reason for the slow legislative year, a number of important initiatives of interest to co-ops and condos are currently under review.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is grappling with a $5 billion budget deficit and considering various cost-cutting measures to help the city weather its fiscal crisis. As a result of the budget crunch, several legislative proposals and initiatives sought for years by the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums (CNYC) and the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums (FNYHCC), are, at the moment, off the table.

Property Tax Fairness for All

"This is a terrible budget year for both the city and the state," notes Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the CNYC. Therefore, the Council is really not pushing hard for any of its prior initiatives, such as tax relief.

"Our top priority continues to be fairness in personal property taxes. The present abatement extends to June 30, 2004. It seems a long way away but it truly isn't," she continues. So over the next year, CNYC will focus on getting meaningful tax relief enacted. "Come winter, we really have to get started," says Rothman, about the initiative, which the Council began back in 1990, when it formed The Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes. The current abatement plan grants a 25 percent reduction in taxes to owners of apartments in buildings where the average assessed value per unit is $15,000 or less and a 17.5 percent reduction to owners of units in buildings with an average assessed value of more than $15,000. To be eligible for a rebate, the unit must be one's primary residence, and one must own no more than three units.

"We'll need the city to devise a plan - a plan for tax fairness, which the city agrees upon and which we like. Next year will be a year where we really hope we'll be successful in this," says Rothman.

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