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Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Legislative Issues

Published: July 1, 1998

MEMO TO MEMBERS & SUBSCRIBERS:
POLITICAL INFIGHTING
DELAYS CO-OP & CONDO LEGISLATION

Parallel scenarios at city and state levels this spring pitted the
executive branch of government against the legislative, with
effects that were often detrimental to CNYC's goals.

ALBANY SCORECARD:
Law on 'Collection of Rent' Passed;
Tax Shares Modified; Much Left Undone


RENT COLLECTION BILL PASSED
The State legislature recessed on June 18th after a stormy session. Although CNYC had been optimistic about several important pieces of legislation, only one of these was passed and awaits the Governor's signature. A.3591/S.4141, introduced by Assemblyman Keith Wright and Senator Vincent Leibel, enables cooperatives and condominiums to collect rent from subtenants of shareholders and unit owners who are not current in their carrying charges. Strongly supported by Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, this important legislation will be very helpful to ensure necessary cash flow for building operations.

TAX SHARE BILL PASSED
Late in the session, in response to requests from the City of New York, the legislature passed A.11308, which was introduced by Senator Marchi and Assemblyman Ramirez to cap the increase in property tax shares at 2.5%. This bill also awaits Governor Pataki's signature. Once this bill is signed into law, the City Council will be able to adjust the tax rates for fiscal 1999 for the four property tax classes (see below). A.11308 is silent on the distribution of the excess tax burden lifted from Class 1 by this bill. This is an issue on which the Mayor and the City Council have not yet come to agreement. The cap reduces the tax burden on Class 1 (1-, 2- and 3-family homeowners); the Council proposes that commercial property take on this excess, but the Mayor wants to shift part of the excess to multiple dwellings (including co-ops and condos). CNYC will keep its members advised as to how this contest plays out.


LEFT HANGING:
Continuing Property Tax Abatements; Board Liability

GRANNIS BILL TO CONTINUE
PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENTS
STALLED IN SENATE

A.11074, introduced by Manhattan Assemblyman Pete Grannis, was passed unanimously by the Assembly and forwarded to the Senate, where it still sits in the Rules Committee. Mr. Grannis' bill would extend the current three-year property tax abatement program for homeowners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums for one more year (fiscal 2000) at the present rate and reset the deadline for the City to present a long-term plan for tax fairness to 12/31/98. On July 1, 1998, we enter the final year of the current abatement program; without this extender, these abatements end June 30, 1999. CNYC urges the Senate to pass this extender legislation if it reconvenes in the fall after election day.

PROTECTING VOLUNTEER BOARDS FROM CRIMINAL LIABILITY
To protect volunteer boards of directors against criminal liability, Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz introduced A.8891 and Senator Padavan introduced companion bill S.5999, but it was not passed in this session. CNYC urges its passage if the legislature reconvenes in the fall.


NEW YORK ClTY SITUATION:
Confusion on Property Tax Rates

1998/99 TAX RATE STILL SUBJECT TO DEBATE
Because the Mayor and the City Council did not come to agreement about property taxes in time for the July 1 billings, the Department of Finance has sent bills based on this year's assessment and last year’s rate. Legislation has been passed in Albany capping the class share increase for any class of property at 2.5%. Once the Governor signs this bill into law, the City Council will set the tax rates for fiscal 1999. This will trigger calculation of abatements andexemptions. Adjustments will be made to January tax bills for appropriate collection of taxes from each taxpayer.

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE WILL PROVIDE FULL INFORMATION
TO ALL COOPERATIVES QUALIFYING FOR YEAR 3 OF THE ABATEMENTS

During the summer, the Department of Finance will write to the designated contact (often the managing agent) at every cooperative building to verify which units qualify for the 1998/99 property tax abatement. This complete list of apartments will state whether each unit is eligible or not and why not. If errors have been made, you will have one final opportunity to contact DOF with corrections.

Once the tax rates are set by the City Council and the corrections are received from cooperative buildings, the Department of Finance will produce for each participating cooperative the specific dollar amounts for which each unit qualifies in property tax abatement and in exemptions for veterans and seniors (SCHE & STAR). These very detailed lists will be sent to your building (or your manager) late in October, and the City will make adjustments (downward adjustments in our case) on the January property tax bills. You can anticipate being able to credit appropriate dollar amounts to shareholders on their December maintenance bills.

MAKE ELECTION ISSUES OF TAX FAIRNESS AND BOARD PROTECTION
To spur passage of the two important pieces of Albany legislation discussed above, we ask your help in injecting this issue into every election campaign. Over the summer, candidates will be seeking party endorsements for the September 15th primary. Ask every candidate where they stand on protecting homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums. Get their promise to work for fair taxes for these homeowners and for fair treatment of volunteer boards.

ACTION COMMITTEE TO MEET
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 1998
There will be an important meeting of the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes on the evening of September 16, 1998. Please be certain that your building is represented. Since our tax abatement in its present form ends on June 30, 1999, we must mobilize to push hard for its continuation. CNYC's summer Newsletter will have the location of this 7 PM meeting, as well as full details of the 1998/98 tax rates. Call the Action Committee at (212) 496-1306 to reserve your place.


CNYCSites ARE UP AND RUNNING
Web browsers will have already discovered the new addition to CNYC's World Wide Web Information Center called CNYCSites, where member cooperatives and condominiums are presenting themselves to the world on their own Websites. See the CNYCSites Website for full details on how you can put your building on the Web.

 
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