On at least one issue of importance to northeast Queens residents, area elected officials, Republican and Democrat, on the state and city level, seem to have no trouble finding common ground.
That issue is related to popular outrage among co-op shareholders and condo owners over a jump in assessed property values for their buildings — one that drew throngs of Deepdale Gardens and Beech Hills residents to a Little Neck auditorium .
In response to concerns voiced by residents, a diverse coalition of Queens council members and state representatives emerged to push for what many call a permanent fix to the problem of skyrocketing assessements — namely, so they are treated the same as single- and multi-family houses under property tax law.
“I am working with my colleagues in government to get to the bottom of this .... And I’ll be working with our representatives in Albany to make sure Queens co-op owners are finally treated fairly," said Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone.
Before a recent meeting of co-op shareholders at Clearview Gardens, Halloran praised state Sen. Toby Stavisky, D-Flushing, and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, for their efforts to push legislation in their respective chambers that would reclassify co-ops and condos as Class One properties.
And closer to home, Halloran also pledged to support efforts by his City Hall colleague, Councilman Mark Weprin, D-Oakland Gardens, to hold the city Department of Finance accountable for what many critics called an attempt to institute a back-door tax on co-ops and condos in the five boroughs.
"The city’s formula for valuing these properties doesn’t add up," Halloran said. "This is just a hidden co-op tax on my constituents."
The issue of co-op and condo assessments will be aired in a .
One community leader calling for action on the tax assessments, Bay Terrace Community Alliance president Warren Schreiber, was cheered by the united front presented by area elected officials.
"I think it’s wonderful to see them all work together, which doesn’t always happen," Schreiber said. "This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Where I live, there are Democrats, Republicans and Conservatives. We all have to pay the tax. I’m really happy to see that."