Property Tax Relief after the Storm

March 6, 2015
Courtesy Greenwich Time – aftermath of Super Storm Sandy on Greenwich Point, October 2012.

Courtesy Greenwich Time – aftermath of Super Storm Sandy on Greenwich Point, October 2012.

Super Storm Sandy code related improvements caused property taxes to skyrocket

Hartford, CT – State Senator Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich) testified before the Planning and Development Committee of the General Assembly this week in Hartford on a bill (SB187) to phase in property tax increases after a natural disaster. State Rep. Mike Bocchino (R-Greenwich) and Sen. Frantz co-sponsored a similar bill (SB456) which includes a 5 year time frame.

“The citizens of this state pay a lot of money to live here. It has become increasingly difficult to keep a home in Connecticut because of the burden of paying property taxes that can be hard to predict and are constantly on the rise,” said Sen. Frantz. “In some cases the amount of property tax is very volatile because of the re-evaluation process or, more recently, natural disasters.”

State Rep. Mike Bocchino said, “Many residents who live along the shoreline watched as their homes flooded and in some instances, burned to the ground due to the impact of the storm. Through no fault of their own their lives were changed as they watched everything they owned went up in smoke. We all need to understand the potential tax inequity created by losing one’s home in a natural disaster and work hard to bring some sort of relief to these families.”

In Senate Bill 187, An Act Concerning Property Tax Relief there is a section suggesting a phase in “on property tax increases associated with residential reconstruction after a natural disaster related only to code related improvements.”

Frantz and Bocchino had several constituents experience major losses as a result of super storm sandy in October of 2012. They believe it would be prudent to add a time frame to the bill before the committee.

“It is only fair that the increase in the assessed value of the improvements required by new building codes, such as having to raise a house’s elevation, be phased in over several years,” added Frantz. “Our recommendation would be to do it over five years.”

A number of families, including the Mullens found out that when having to rebuild after fires caused by the storm – the cost of replacing a home largely because of new building code provisions would significantly exceed the previous assessed value – thus, making their property tax bill skyrocket.

Frantz told the committee, “As you can imagine the turmoil of losing your possessions and your shelter only to realize your otherwise tax-free insurance benefit triggers a permanent increase in the local tax burden is onerous to say the least. I support the concept of a phase in to give homeowners some relief under narrowly defined special circumstances and to make sure we are maximizing the chances of them staying in the community.”

The town assessor in Greenwich agrees with the building code improvement provision. The state of New York afforded its residents with this phase in of property tax relief after a new assessment as a result of a natural disaster.