Governor signs bill to provide tax relief for co-op owners

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Law will lower taxes for owners as properties are reclassified

(ALBANY, NY) – Some residents in Binghamton will now be paying lower property taxes after the Governor signed into law Monday a bill that reclassifies two properties in the City. The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Fred Akshar, changes the classification of cooperative housing units at 5 Riverside Drive and 4 Oak Street to ‘homesteads,’ which will result in a lower property tax rate for residents living in them.

“Residents at these co-ops have been unfairly taxed because of where they live,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “Reclassifying these properties will result in significant tax relief for those residents. Their next-door neighbors have been paying a lower tax rate for more than 20 years and it was past time that we brought their tax rate in line with that of the rest of the neighborhood.”

“Our local officials reached out for help in relieving an unfair tax burden on a group of constituents I represent and I was happy to do what I could to assist them,” said Senator Akshar. “We’re just doing what we were elected to do: listen to our constituents’ concerns and produce tangible results in Albany. In the coming Session, I’ll continue working to relieve the tax burden on folks across our Senate District.”

In 1993, the City of Binghamton adopted a local law that created a two-tiered property tax system; a ‘homestead’ rate for residential properties, and a ‘non-homestead’ rate for commercial properties. The two co-ops were classified as non-homesteads, despite being residential properties.

“On behalf of the residents of 4 Oak Street, I’d like to thank Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Akshar for their work on this bill,” said Ed Gent, Pres. of 4 Oak St. Board of Directors. “Many of our residents are seniors on a fixed income. This change will provide them with tax relief that will allow them to spend the money on other household needs and in the community. We are all very pleased and excited to see this bill has been signed by the Governor.”

“We have been advocating for Five Riverside Towers to be reclassified for many years,” said David Hanzes, General Manager of Five Riverside Towers. “Many of our residents are seniors living on a fixed income and this change will put the two city cooperatives on a level playing field when it comes to taxes and provide residents with much needed tax relief. On behalf of the residents, I’d like to sincerely thank Assemblywomen Lupardo and Senator Akshar for their work and diligence on getting this legislation passed. I would also like to thank Binghamton City Council and the Mayor for their support.”

The effort to amend the tax code for the co-ops has been in the works for years and was first proposed by former Binghamton City Councilwoman Teri Rennia. Binghamton City Council first passed legislation last December asking for state legislation to make this change, and a bill was introduced this past spring by Lupardo and Akshar. With the signing of this legislation, City Council will now have to pass a local law reclassifying the two properties.