Town to host hearings on block grant and tax relief for Sandy victims

Southold Town will host two public hearings during its regular session this evening.

The first asks residents how they think funds from a Suffolk County Community Block Grant should be allocated.

Each year the town receives approximately $98,000 in Suffolk County grant funding to meet local housing and community development needs.

In past years, organizations such as CAST, Maureen’s Haven and the North Fork Housing Alliance have presented pitches on the best way to allocate the money. Individuals are also invited to speak at the hearing scheduled for tonight at 4:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

Southold Town has also set a public hearing on a proposed program that would allow homeowners who suffered property damage during Superstorm Sandy to receive a refund or credit back on their next town tax assessment.

The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in October, proposes moving the property evaluation assessment date from March 1, 2013 to Oct. 29, 2012 — the day after Sandy wrecked millions of homes across the state.

The law would reassess the value of the property at the height of the storm damage, instead of at the increased value it was assessed at in March, after repairs were made.

Gov. Cuomo’s bill allows counties and municipalities to opt in to the program, which provides homeowners who filed a for Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive an adjustment on their property tax assessment to account for losses in value due to Sandy.

The amount of the tax refund, credit or assessment reduction would depend upon the FEMA damage assessment determination and inspections that were conducted by the assessor’s office based on bills paid to licensed contractors or paid homeowner insurance claims, according to the law.

If adopted, the town would be required to refund homeowners the difference. Assessor Bob Scott estimated that about 35 to 50 homeowners might apply for the reassessment.

The hearing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

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