OSWEGO, NY – The Common Council is looking to help people improve their properties and not get hit in the wallet for it.
To that end, Fifth Ward Councilor Bill Barlow has proposed implementing a new local law that would give homeowners incentive to make capital improvements.
The proposed local law would allow for the exemption from taxes that portion of an increase in assessment to residential buildings occurring as a result of capital improvement, according to assistant city attorney Tom Reynolds.
The exemption is permitted pursuant to Real Property Tax Law Section 421-f, he added.
This proposal “is very similar” to what the county legislature approved last week, Barlow pointed out.
“This does essentially the same thing only it emphasizes work on residential buildings,” he said at Monday night’s council committee meetings.
Many people are hesitant to make improvements “if the assessor is just going to come, jack up my assessment and my taxes will go up higher than they already are,” Barlow pointed out.
“This provides some incentive, encourages you to invest in your own home,” he said.
When your new assessment is given, for the first year the difference between your old assessment and new assessment is not taxed, he explained. The next year, it is taxed 12.5 percent and it is taxed 12.5 percent year after year the ninth year, at which point you new reassessment is totally taxed, Barlow explained.
Hopefully, the exemption will make people consider buying homes in the First Ward and Third Ward and fixing them up, he added.
“In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer. Hopefully it sparks some interest in buying a home within the city,” the councilor said. “It’s important to build the city from the inside out.”
The application comes from the State Department of Taxation and can be applied for through the city assessor’s office, Barlow said.
Council President Eric VanBuren thanked Barlow and Reynolds for their work on the proposal.
“Anything we can do to encourage people to move into the city, improve the city is a plus,” he said.
“This is great. I hope in generates some interest, especially in my ward,” said Third Ward Councilor Mike Todd. “I think this is great. I firmly support it, it’s awesome.”
Fourth Ward Councilor Shawn Walker echoed those sentiments.
“I love this proposal,” he said.
There are other benefits to this as well, Seventh Ward Councilor Ron Kaplewicz pointed out. Local contractor and local lumber yards and others will benefit due to the revenue that will be generated, he said.
According to the proposal, an exemption can be for no more than $80,000 in increased market value due to reconstruction, alteration or improvement.
The amount of the exemption may be reduced below $80,000 but the cap can be no less than $5,000.
The value of the reconstruction, alteration or improvement must exceed a threshold of $3,000.
The greater portion of the structure as determined by square footage of the building to be reconstructed, altered or improved must be at least five years old.
An opinion of the Attorney General references that improvements must be attached to the residential structure itself; but the opinion notes that such attachments, such as an attached garage, deck or porch would qualify unless otherwise limited by local law.
The reconstruction, alteration or improvement must be completed and a certificate of occupancy issued before the premises may qualify for the residential improvements exemption.
The Common Council may provide that the exemption is not only applicable to improvements which increase the assessed value, but which also consist of an addition, remodeling or modernization to an existing residential structure to prevent physical deterioration of the structure or to comply with applicable codes.
A public hearing will be scheduled in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 13 W. Oneida St.