Syracuse Common Councilors Propose Relief for Homeowners in Flood Zones
Syracuse common councilors have an idea that could ease the burden on hundreds of homeowners who will be required to purchase expensive flood insurance starting next week.
Councilors say residents have told them they’ll have to sell their homes and move because they’ll no longer be able to afford their mortgage payments once flood insurance is added to the bill. Council President Van Robinson worries no one will want to buy these homes.
“It is unbelievable that this city with it’s slide in population and troublesome housing that we would add additional housing that will eventually become vacant and will have to be demolished,” said Robinson.
Councilors passed a resolution Monday asking state lawmakers for permission to give residents a property tax exemption on a sliding scale. Savings would range from 5 percent for someone earning $37,000, to 50 percent for a homeowner making less than $29,000. Councilor Joe Nicoletti says they have to respond.
“If you look at the people that are most affected they are the people that need our help the most,”said Nicoletti.
But Councilor Joe Carni wants to see the exemption apply to a larger cross-section of homeowners.
“Our job here is to try and protect not just our residents but the city as well with tax dollars and to preserve the property value and assessment. I think we can benefit from looking at middle class homes as well,"said Carni.
Not everyone is convinced that the council can have that much of an impact. Long-time outspoken resident Joanne Stevens says for now, the non-binding resolution is just talk.
“They don’t have any power. I can’t go by what they said. The power is with Schumer, Gillibrand, and Katko,” Stevens said.
Councilor Steve Thompson says it’s not for lack of trying on the city’s part.
"We asked Senators Schumer and Gillibrand representative Katko to look into long-term relief, diversion of the water upstream, something in the dam, and removing the sediment along the crickline," Thompson said.