Tax bill controversy in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

March 21, 2013 3:16:54 PM PDT
As hundreds of South Shore residents battle insurance companies for help, a new battle is brewing that could pit neighbor against neighbor.

People like Robert Sheridan of Lindenhurst are seeking to lower the assessments that will determine their future property taxes.

"I think my taxes should come down. I mean people aren't really buying houses down there," Sheridan said.

The question is where will the money come from for towns and school districts if hundreds of people are paying less?

It seems homeowners who didn't have damage will be footing the bill.

"The budget doesn't change other people have to pick up," tax attorney Richard Fromewick said.

Fromewick is a tax attorney in Garden City. He says people who live in Sandy ravaged areas, but themselves did not have any damage could see a 12 to 15 percent increase in their property tax bills this fall.

"If the budget is a billion dollars, that isn't going to change. Somebody is going to have to pay less and somebody is going to have to pay more," Fromewick said.

Of course that doesn't seem fair to people whose homes made it through the storm untouched,

"Don't get me wrong. I feel completely horrible for people who lost everything, but it shouldn't come out our pockets to make up for the difference," James Bert of Massapequa said.

Kathy Gullo says she totally gets that, but she's been leaving in a trailer next to her house in Lindenhurst for months now. She's already submitted the paperwork to have her assessment lowered.

"We're willing to pay our fair share soon as we get back up or able to live back in our house," Gullo said.