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Hurricane Sandy damaged homes in New York City see property-tax increases

by on February 12, 2013

(NY Post)

The city is claiming that property values have actually shot up for many homes in Manhattan Beach and it’s going ahead with hefty tax hikes for the houses devastated by the October superstorm, shocked property owners told The Post.

Homeowners in other neighborhoods hit by Sandy, including Coney Island, the Rockaways and parts of Staten Island, also said they’ve received increases.

“This is totally insensitive and heartless,” said Ira Zalcman, president of the Manhattan Beach Community Group, which has received more than 30 complaints from residents about the hikes.

Paul Martinka

“We just sustained one of the worst national disasters in our nation’s history, and now the city is delusional, claiming our property values went up.”

Zalcman said that since Sandy, he has spent roughly $100,000 repairing the basement of his Dover Street oceanfront home, for which he pays more than $7,000 a year in property taxes.

He estimates his tax bill will go up nearly $200 for the fiscal year beginning July 1 because the city claims his property’s market value rose by $79,000 to slightly more than $2 million, increasing the home’s assessed value for tax purposes. He claims he’d be lucky to get $1.5 million.

Meanwhile, other owners facing tax hikes say their homes are so badly damaged, they have yet to complete repairs and move back.

One oceanfront home, at 295 Dover St., still had its windows and doors boarded up yesterday. But the city says its market value has jumped $473,000 the past year to $3.1 million.

The owner, Olga Belenkaya, has yet to return because the home was so badly damaged by Sandy, neighbors said. Belenkaya did not return messages left on her cellphone.

Councilman Michael Nelson (D-Brooklyn), whose district includes hard-hit Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach — called the tax hikes “heartless” and “something the city must immediately remedy.”

“Common sense dictates their property values have fallen, if not plummeted in some cases,” he said.

Stephen “Butch” Moran, vice chairman of Community Board 13, said he’s “shocked” his taxes are going up for one of the homes he owns in Sheepshead Bay and Seagate, where Sandy left him with $300,000 worth of combined repairs.

“How do you increase taxes for people who no longer have 100 percent of their homes remaining?” he said.

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