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Avella, Co-op and Condo Leaders Call for Property Tax Abatement's Renewal

During rally, northeast Queens leaders say they also want J-51 tax incentive deadline to be extended.

Northeast Queens elected officials joined co-op and condo owners Monday to call on the state Legislature to renew an and to extend the deadline for providing tax incentives for home improvements.

State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and state Assemblyman David Weprin, D-Little Neck, said the tax abatement, which expired on June 30, provides relief for co-op and condo owners.

And he said they said that J-51 tax incentives allow the units’ owners to make home improvements.

“The fact that this important and vital tax abatement was allowed to expire is unacceptable,” Avella said during a press conference in front of the Bay Terrace Cooperative, Section One. “Co-op and condo owners should have the same property tax breaks as one, two and three-family homeowners. Instead, co-op and condo owners pay much more in property taxes and the loss of this abatement only goes to further this inequity.”

Due to the expiration of the abatement, co-op and condo owners are faced with a more than $400 million tax increase.

The senator said an agreement had been reached in Albany to renew the property tax abatement, but that it did not get passed before the legislative session.

“This is affordable middle class housing and what makes it affordable is the property tax abatement,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Without it, we would have to pay an additional $1,200 per year in maintenance costs."

Avella also called on the Legislature to extend the deadline for providing J-51 tax incentives, which offset the costs of maintaining and make capital improvements to the infrastructure of co-ops and condos.

“It allows us to add new roofs and windows," Schreiber said. "My co-op is 50 years old and needs new heating systems and boiler rooms. Without the J-51, we’d still have to do the work, but the cost would be passed to the shareholders.”

Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village, said the J-51 had allowed his co-op to fix roofs and remove asbestos.

“We have an aging infrastructure, so this program is essential,” he said. “Co-ops and condos are the last bastion of affordable housing in New York City.”

If the property tax abatement passes in the Legislature, it could lead to a “deeper discount” for an estimated 90 percent of co-ops and condos in Queens that are assessed at $60,000, Weprin said.

“We are trying to make it more equitable for co-ops and condos to get a deeper abatement,” he said. “The current abatement should also be continued in the meantime until another is passed.”

But state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, said he did not believe co-op and condo owners should not be concerned about an increase in taxes because Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office has indicated that it would continue the current tax abatement until the Legislature reconvenes later this year to vote on a new abatement.

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