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Bellone Announces Temporary Property Tax Relief

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 14:28
Hospitalizations and intensive care patients continue to trend downward in Suffolk County with a decrease of 158 I.C.U. patients from Tuesday to Wednesday. The exact hospitalization numbers were not available during Wednesday's press conference.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a 45-day property tax extension without penalty for those who were affected economically by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The unanimously approved plan from a group that included town supervisors, village mayors, officials from schools, and other interested parties in the county will be sent to the governor's office with a request for an executive order authorizing the plan. Once approved, the deadline to file taxes for those approved will be July 15.

Once approved by the governor, the plan provides for individuals who have lost 25 percent or more of their income or are awaiting unemployment benefits, and businesses with a net profit of $1 million or less that have experienced a 50 percent or greater loss of income or are waiting for P.P.P. payments would be able to apply for the relief with a form attesting to their need.

The aim of the plan is to "provide critical relief to those who cannot pay because of a loss of revenue," Mr. Bellone said. He added that United States Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Lee Zeldin were helpful in accessing a federal liquidity fund that had been made available to a limited set of municipalities.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who participated in the group, said during a press conference announcing the plan on Wednesday that many people who have lost loved ones, jobs, and income need relief. "Forty-five days without fee or penalty goes a long way."

At the same time, he noted that the taxes are "how we run government, how we have services" such as fire departments, schools, and police protection. "Without property taxes, we cease to exist." 

With bills due at the local level, he said it was not so simple to allow extra time to county residents. "This was not an easy problem to solve," Mr. Schneiderman said.

Mr. Bellone also said an economic impact survey for businesses was prepared in partnership with Nassau County. It will be made available on the county website and to local chambers of commerce and other business groups and will form the basis for a regional analysis of the economic impact of the pandemic that will be put out next month. 

In an update of the county's Covid-19 data, Mr. Bellone said another 84 people tested positive, for a total of 38,411. This number does not include the 10,790 people who have tested positive for antibodies. Although there were no new hospitalizations figures available for the past day, the number of I.C.U. patients decreased to 158 as of Monday. There were 19 more Covid-19 related deaths and 20 patients discharged from hospitals. The county remains within the 70-percent-and-under hospital capacity required by the state to reopen.

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