Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Common Council moved quickly on Tuesday evening to pass legislation that would allow residents whose homes were damaged in widespread flooding last year to receive state compensation through tax breaks.
The initiative ties into a recent law passed by the state Legislature in March that would provide funding for those whose homes decimated during two particularly heavy periods of rain between June 20 and Aug. 9, when dozens of homes were damaged through a combination of power outages and backed up sanitation lines. Most of the damage occurred in North Tonawanda last July.
The Mohawk Valley and Niagara County Assessment Relief Act would allow tax breaks to property owners in multiple upstate counties that endured widespread damage in 2013.
For instance, property owners who lost 10 to 20 percent on the value of their homes would be allowed a tax break of 15 percent, while those who lost 90 to 100 percent would receive a 95 percent tax break.
The percentage of loss would be left up to the city assessor, while residents who feel they may qualify for the tax relief would be required to submit a written request to the assessor.
North Tonawanda was hit hard last year, when rampant flooding ravaged parts of the city during two particularly troublesome storms. The First and Third wards saw the brunt of impact of the flooding.
City Attorney Shawn Nickerson said that the city was required to pass the initiative locally before a May 15 deadline, while residents who may qualify for the tax relief have until June 20 to submit their own claims to the assessor’s office. He added that he was unsure how many residents may qualify or how long any tax relief would remain in place.
“There’s no hard and fast rule on how long it would last,” he said. “It’s certainly going to be at least a year.”