Theodora Friscia says she’s still being victimized by Hurricane Sandy, seven years after the storm.
Flooding wrecked her family’s three bungalows on Mason Avenue. Then she was displaced for three years as the city’s storm rebuilding program combined her bungalow and her brother’s into a new semi-attached home.
And now she’s getting socked by soaring property taxes.
“It really is a nightmare,” Friscia said. “My home, my taxes were $1472 and now they’re $4664, so it’s over a $3,000 increase just for my half of this home.”
Many houses renovated or rebuilt after Sandy jumped in value, causing much higher property tax bills. But the city and state passed legislation to block the increases through 2020.
Mayor de Blasio’s office boasted back then that “most of the owners of affected properties will receive a tax bill similar to what they would have received had the storm never occurred.”
New York City’s Finance Department tells us Friscia’s home did not qualify for the abatement, but it could not say why.
“It’s mind-boggling,” Friscia said. “The increase, especially when you know that legislation was passed to keep this under control.”
To qualify for the relief, a home’s value had to initially drop because of storm damage.
Friscia’s home would appear to meet this rule; It was so badly damaged, it was knocked down.
Friscia isn’t the only homeowner experiencing this problem. NY1 has spoken with a handful of other residents, all experiencing the same issue, all of them desperate for some relief.
The tax for 189 Moreland Street increased 82 percent. In this case, the Finance Department tells us it made a mistake and the tax bill is being adjusted.
Congressman Max Rose says his office received similar complaints, and isn’t getting answers from the Finance Department either.
“We could not be more frustrated with their evasiveness, we could not be more frustrated with their silence, and we could not be more frustrated with how complicit they are in this tax warfare,” said Rose.
Here’s more confusion: While Friscia’s tax bill climbed by $3,000, the bill for her bother’s identical home next door increased by only $522.
The Finance Department could not explain that, either.