Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
Article Archive
Tax Issues

Published: Winter 1999

As homeowners in housing cooperatives and condominiums throughout New York City enjoy the final year of the three-year abatement of property taxes mandated by Chapter 273 of the Laws of 1996, the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes continues its crusade to ensure long-term property tax fairness for these homeowners.

The current three-year abatement program has gone a long way towards correcting inequities, but it will sunset on June 30, 1999, unless legislation is enacted to keep it going. Both the Mayor and the City Council have indicated their support for continuing tax relief for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums. Council Speaker Peter Vallone had contacted the State Legislature last December, when it held a short special session. He requested swift passage of legislation to continue the co-op/ condo abatement at that time; but that special session did not take up this issue. Mayor Giuliani's Financial Plan is also supportive of the abatement, projecting funds to continue it in force. However, as of this writing, the Mayor and the City Council have not yet joined to send a 'Home Rule Message' about this to the State legislature, where legislation to continue our abatement must be enacted.

Assembly member Pete Grannis secured strong Assembly support for the original abatement legislation in 1996. Now he has introduced A.4486, which provides for an extension of the abatement and also authorizes the local legislative body to establish appropriate abatement percentages for different taxpayers. In 1996, Senator Roy Goodman championed our cause in the Senate; CNYC and the Action Committee are confident that Senator Goodman will continue to work for tax fairness. We urge his constituents to contact him to ask him to introduce new legislation to extend co-op/condo abatements.

To ensure a seamless transition to a fourth year of tax abatements, this legislation needs to be passed quickly, because the Department of Finance will then need time to verifying the qualifications of applicants for abatements that should begin with 1999 property tax bills.

Chapter 273 of the Laws of 1996 further required that the City develop a long range plan to continue progress toward tax fairness for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums. CNYC has received repeated assurances that serious work is progressing on the development of a long-term plan. CNYC and the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes continue to monitor the progress of the long term plan and will keep members informed of developments.

The Comparative Study of 1997 Operating Costs – with cost information for more than 700 cooperatives and condominiums – was recently sent to all CNYC member cooperatives and condominiums and to professionals affiliated with CNYC. This annual analysis provides a framework to help you decide if your own building is functioning economically and efficiently by studying the various costs of operating a building. Code numbers are used to identify the participants, preserving the anonymity of individual cooperatives and condominiums.

The Comparative Study analyzes all data on a per-room basis, beginning with the current assessment and mortgage figures for participating buildings, as well as the maintenance cost. It then lists amounts spent per room on wages, fuel, utilities, repairs and maintenance, insurance, management costs, administrative costs, water and sewer fees, property tax, and debt service. When possible, elevator maintenance and legal and accounting costs are each listed separately. The Study also presents summary statistics, calculating the averages and medians for each item, and the average portion of total operating budget devoted to each category.

CNYC is already working on the 1998 Comparative Study. YOUR 1998 financial statement is important to the Comparative Study. Please forward your annual financial statement as soon as it is ready, so that your data can be included. If this is the first time that you will be participating in the Comparative Study, a room count for your building will be very helpful.

When the Study is sent to members and subscribers, those that have contributed will be advised of their code numbers so that they can find their own statistics. Each member building will receive its own copy of the Study. Additional copies can be purchased from CNYC for $5.


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