Two Suffolk County Legislators are asking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to suspend a law that requires local municipalities to charge penalties and interest for late payments of taxes in an effort to provide relief for homeowners hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
Legis. Wayne Horsley (D, Babylon) and Legis. Tom Cilmi (R, East Islip) put forth the idea recently to help residents in areas such as Lindenhurst who continue to dig out and rebuild following the October 29 superstorm.
"Many of our residents have been catastrophically impacted by super storm Sandy," Horsley said. "This storm of epic proportions has affected residents and business owners both financially and emotionally."
The Suffolk County Tax Act in New York State law requires penalties and interest to be levied as a result of the late payment of property taxes.
The governor, through his executive powers during an emergency declaration, can temporarily suspend the requirement to give affected residents more time to pay.
“All of us in elected office today have seen devastation like we’ve never seen before as a result of Sandy," said Cilmi. "People are desperately trying to get back on their feet. The least we can do is show some empathy by not charging these folks penalties for paying their taxes late."
He added: "Putting food in their children’s mouths and rebuilding their homes should be their number-one priority.”
Horsley and Cilmi have also called upon County Executive Steve Bellone to assist them with their request.
"We have an obligation as elected officials to assist our residents who were devastated by Sandy as they struggle to rebuild their homes, their businesses and their lives," said Horsley. "An extension on the deadline for real property tax payments would provide residents in the affected areas with some relief.”