Fort Plain Central School District Superintendent Douglas Burton will send a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking for an extension of the property tax payment deadline by 21 days because of the property damage after the flooding on June 28. The board passed the resolution that directed the superintendent to write the letter at its regular meeting on Sept. 11.
If the governor grants the extension, the due date for property taxes would move from Oct. 2 to Oct. 23 without penalty or interest.
Real Property Tax Law provides for an extension of the final date to pay taxes upon request and approval by the governor as a result of a state disaster emergency.
Fort Plain sits within the area where the governor declared a state disaster emergency following the flooding. More than 200 properties sustained damaged during the flood.
This will be the third time since 2006 the board has passed a resolution directing the superintendent to write an extension request letter. The governor granted extension requests in 2006 and again in 2011.
“The most the board can do within Real Property Tax Law is direct me to write the extension letter, which I have already drafted,” Burton said in a news release. “They cannot grant the extension, because only the governor can do that.”
On Sept. 9, Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara conducted in press conference in Fort Plain to promote legislation — the Flood Assessment Relief Act of 2013 — that would allow for properties to be reassessed before the next tax roll.
The current law bases property taxes based on their pre-flood value. And the under the current law, residents can get their homes reassessed, but those assessment wouldn’t be used to calculate taxes until 2014. The proposed legislation would allow home and business owners to backdate the reduced assessment to June and receive break on this year’s taxes.
Now that they have introduced the measure, Tkaczyk and Santabarbara are currently lobbying state Senate and Assembly leaders to reconvene this fall to work on the issue.
Tkaczyk introduced the measure in the Senate after the flooding in an effort to give Fort Plain homeowners an opportunity to have their property reassessed for a break on their 2013 property taxes.
Santabarbara then joined her to expand the measure to include homeowners and businesses in Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Niagara and Oneida.
According to Sen. Tkaczyk’s website, the measure would also hold school districts harmless for the loss of STAR reimbursement by the state as a result of lowered assessments.