Lawmakers hope to bring tax relief to flooding victims

Posted at: 09/09/2013 6:19 PM
Updated at: 09/09/2013 6:21 PM
By: Kumi Tucker

FORT PLAIN -- This was what was left of Tammy Erhardt's home on Abbott Street in Fort Plain after raging floodwaters in June took away half the house.

Now, with a new place in Canajoharie, she's getting two tax bills.

"Because we're in the process, we actually closed Friday," said Erhardt. "So we'll have the school taxes on the new home because they're just coming out and then we have the school taxes on the old house."

Two local lawmakers are trying to help in five New York counties by allowing people to get reassessed to reflect the now-lower value of their flood-damaged properties. 

"I can understand why they would want the money because I wouldn't want the children to suffer because we aren't paying the taxes, but I'm a stay-at-home mom and our goal is so I can stay home and not have to go back to work, so it's going to be kind of tight to have to pay two full," said Erhardt.

And pay for property that's not even there anymore. Erhardt says now the new road is actually going through what was her front yard.

"This is a way to lower the tax bill on their first house that was flood-damaged. We've done this before in the past. We did it after Hurricane Irene," said Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk (D - Duanesburg).

"Families are rebuilding now and the last thing they need is to get a tax bill for property that has been destroyed," said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D - Rotterdam).

Andrea Bouck has two tax bills now, too. She used to live on Reid Street right across the creek from Erhardt. She's staying in Fort Plain, but says she's not going back to this house.

"This was frightening and the lady who was washed away literally was across the creek from us and I'm not going to stay there and wait until that's me or my father because he's trying to help me," said Bouck.

Senator Tkaczyk wants the legislature to be called back as soon as possible to take action on this legislation.