**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
August 2, 2011
Contacts: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191
NYC COUNCIL MEMBER LETITIA JAMES ANNOUNCES PILOT CO-OP AND CONDO COUNCIL FOR 35TH COUNCIL DISTRICT AND URGES THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE TO CAP PROPERTY TAXES IN BROOKLYN
It has long been acknowledged that housing cooperatives and condominiums pay more than their fair share of property taxes
(Brooklyn, NY) Serious concern about the New York City Department of Finance's assessments of real property values for cooperative and condominium properties exists. Some residents have seen increases in market value of up to one-hundred fifty percent, and the resulting real property tax increases could be extremely damaging to affordable housing in many neighborhoods.
Council Member James said: “I ask that co-op and condo owners in the 35th Council District who may be experiencing increases in property taxes and other issues related to their residences, call my office. The pilot Co-op and Condo Council that I am forming has three purposes: 1. to get condo taxes capped at an affordable rate in Brooklyn, 2. to create discounted purchasing opportunities, 3. to develop green initiatives, and 4. to share information.”
Property tax rates for co-op and condos were capped at 10% (only in the borough of Queens) for the 2011 year, and co-ops/condos in Brooklyn and Citywide should also be capped. It is still unclear what the cap will be for 2012. The City Council is currently working with a panel/commission to examine the issue.
Tamara Clements, a resident of co-ops located at 149 and 153 Clinton Avenue said: “My neighbors and I want to understand how things work in the tax and real estate areas. We will support any efforts to research and speak out against built-in and structural unfairness in government, specifically as it relates to property taxes.”
The general consensus is that because co-op ownership (and condo ownership to a smaller degree) is the most accessible way for working-class people to become property owners, it is unfair that this group should shoulder a larger tax burden than traditional homeowners (whose property is more valuable overall). The goal of this pilot initiative is to cap property tax rates for these owners at a maximum of 8%, as suggested by the City Council.
“I’m certain a joint effort by co-op and condo owners to force the capping of escalating real estate taxes is very possible in Brooklyn through the formation, and work of this pilot Co-op and Condo Council,” said Council Member James.