Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums

Publication Date: Autumn 2000

We are currently in the fifth and final year of property tax abatements for homeowners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums. This abatement program will sunset on June 30, 2001; the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate taxes will seek new legislation and grass roots support to ensure continued abatements and further progress towards tax fairness.

At present, cooperatives and condominiums are concerned with appropriate distribution of the current abatement. Bills issued in June for the first tax payment for fiscal 2001 were estimates using the current assessment but last year's tax rates. January tax bills will be adjusted to reflect the new tax rate which could only be set after State legislation authorized a modification of existing law which the City requested.

In mid-August Governor Pataki signed legislation to reduce the existing 5% cap on increase in tax burden for any property tax class to 2%. This authorized the City Council to pass an amended tax-fixing resolution for fiscal 2001, which was accomplished early in September. The new 10.847% tax rate for Class 2, which includes virtually all housing cooperatives and condominiums, reflects a very modest reduction from last year. Consequently there will be a negligible reduction in our property taxes (and our abatement)s from what appeared on the July tax bill (and on the October bill of all those who pay taxes quarterly).

With the tax rates now set, the Department of Finance is calculating the precise amount of tax exemptions and abatements due to each qualifying homeowner in New York City cooperatives. As it has done for the past two years, the Department of Finance will shortly send notices to the designated contact for each participating cooperative (frequently the managing agent) charting exactly how much is due to each unit in the way of exemptions and abatements. Cooperative corporations must distribute the abatements and exemptions in the course of the fiscal year (by June 30, 2001).

The property tax abatements and the STAR exemptions are for the apartment, based on qualifying on January 5, 2000, even if ownership changes in the course of the year. Exemptions for veterans and senior citizens (including enhanced STAR), however, relate to the qualifying individual and should not be distributed if a senior or veteran leaves the apartment in the course of the year.

Condominium unit owners will receive full abatement and exemption adjustments and explanations with the property tax bill for January.

The Comparative Study of 1999 Operating Costs has been published and a copy is being sent to every CNYC member cooperative and condominium and to all professional subscribers. CNYC is pleased to be providing this information in time for it to help with budget preparation for 2001.

This annual analysis provides a framework to help you decide if your own building is operating economically and efficiently, by studying the various costs of operating a building. Code numbers are used to identify the participants, while preserving their anonymity. When the Study is sent to members whose financial data is included, they are advised of their code numbers so that they can find their own statistic.

CNYC plans to close the 1999 Comparative Study by the end of September so as to send it to members in time to help with the preparation of their 2001 budgets. To have your financial data included in the Study, please quickly forward your annual financial statement to CNYC at 250 West 57th Street, NYC 10023-2142. 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.

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, administrative costs, water & 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.

The Comparative Study of 1999 Operating Costs can be purchased from CNYC for $5. Send your check to CNYC at 250 West 57th Street, Suite 730, New York, NY 10107-0730, being sure to specify the address to which to send the Comparative Study.

As cooperatives and condominiums work on their budgets for the year 2001, the anticipation of substantial increases in fuel and electricity costs encourage investment in energy conservation measures, many of which were explored in the 1970s and early 1980s, but which have fallen into disuse during years of lowered energy costs. The Autumn 2000 edition of Energy Issues reviews energy conservation issues and suggest several low-cost/no-cost ways of saving energy dollars. At CNYC's 20th annual Cooperative Housing Conference on Sunday, November 12, 2000, there will be three workshops specifically focused on energy issues. In the morning, engineer Herb Hirschfeld will discuss submetering and mastermetering as means of conserving electrical energy and positioning your building to take advantage of energy purchase opportunities. At midday, Jordi Reyes-Montblanc will present an Energy Conservation Overview, and in the afternoon participants will be invited to decide, How Will You Buy Deregulated Electricity? Three more workshops will also include guidance for controlling energy costs. They are Dick Koral's morning workshop on A Program For Effective Maintenance, Fred Goldner's afternoon session on Understanding Your Heating System, and Andrew Hoffman and Ted Procas's midday session on Controlling Variable Costs. You may want to invite your building super to attend some of these sessions.



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