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Irene: Flood tax relief costly in Schoharie County

More than 400 see value cut due to storm damage

Sunday, April 29, 2012
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— More than 400 property owners who lost at least half the value of their homes to flooding are getting help from Schoharie County and, in some cases, their towns.

A total of 423 taxpayers in nine of 16 towns received reductions in their property values through the Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee Assessment Relief Act, according to a breakdown provided by county Real Property Tax Director Marjorie Troidl.

The totals represent changes only for those who signed up for the program — not a complete compilation of damage sustained in the devastating storms of August and September 2011, Troidl said.

The state in December passed the law to allow municipal governments, including cities, towns, villages, and school districts, to reassess properties with post-flood values. Assessors were able to cut the assessed value anywhere from 55 percent to 100 percent.

Flood victims had to sustain at least 50 percent damage to their property to participate. Many received refunds because they’d already paid property taxes.

Overall, local assessors calculating losses for the program in Schoharie County determined flood damage claimed $30,069,564 in property values for the 423 parcels. Property valued at roughly $39.54 million before the storm was eroded down to about $9.47 million.

Schoharie County’s Board of Supervisors agreed to relieve property taxes through the program, as did the towns of Blenheim, Broome, Schoharie and Wright.

The town of Schoharie will forego the greatest amount of tax revenue due to the amount of damage. A total of 223 property owners in that town applied for relief for property valued at about $24 million before the flood. Those parcels are now valued at $5.7 million, and the town will do without approximately $32,800 in tax revenue.

Schoharie town Supervisor Gene Milone said the Town Board agreed to participate thanks to having some reserve funding available.

“Luckily enough, we were capable of stepping up to the plate,” Milone said. “It’s just going to be a major setback as far as our reserve is concerned.”

More pressing at this point is the anticipation of roughly $108,000 expected from FEMA, a process Milone said is stalled.

“We had a setback a couple weeks ago because all of the paperwork that was submitted by the town, FEMA lost it,” Milone said.

“Fortunately enough, we have a clerk that has been very diligent in her work” Milone said of Town Clerk Pam Foland.

Foland maintained copies of everything and re-submitted the documents to FEMA, he said.

The impact of the relief act in Schoharie County and in participating towns are:

• Blenheim: 14 properties, pre-flood assessment $845,000, post-flood assessment $180,350. Lost town revenue $5,394.47, lost county revenue $6,504.

• Broome: 9 properties, pre-flood assessment $598,200, post-flood assessment $129,485. Lost town revenue $4,476.53, lost county revenue $4,765.35.

• Cobleskill: 1 property, pre-flood assessment $87,400, post-flood assessment $39,330. Lost county revenue $503.72.

• Esperance: 73 properties, pre-flood assessment $4.5 million, post-flood assessment $794,630. Lost county revenue $39,445.20.

• Fulton: 14 properties, pre-flood assessment $956,520, post-flood assessment $259,322. Lost county revenue $9,027.74.

• Gilboa: 3 properties, pre-flood assessment $4,800, post-flood assessment $1,020. Lost county revenue $1,623.17.

• Middleburgh: 63 properties, pre-flood assessment $6.5 million, post-flood assessment $1.9 million. Lost county revenue $51,594.61.

• Schoharie: 223 properties, pre-flood assessment $24.48 million, post-flood assessment $5.65 million. Lost county revenue $201,807.99, lost town revenue $32,813.42.

• Wright: 23 properties, pre-flood assessment $1.5 million, post-flood assessment $505,875. Lost county revenue $10,538.44, lost town revenue $6,672.92.

 
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