A Suffolk County working group, led by County Executive Steve Bellone (D), has requested an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to provide a 45-day extension to property tax payments through July 15 for homeowners suffering financially during the pandemic.
Taxpayers who have lost at least 25% of their income or businesses with less than a million dollars in net income that have lost at least half of their net income can fill out a form that attests to their hardship to receive the extension.
The property tax relief, which the group has been discussing for several weeks, will help families that have not received their unemployment checks yet or small businesses who are waiting to receive PPP loans from the federal government, Bellone said on a conference call with reporters.
This provides “more time while the economy is shut down,” said Bellone. The county executive said he hopes to hear back from the governor’s office by next week.
Working with Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R), Bellone and other members of the working group extended the Municipal Liquidity Fund to Suffolk County, which didn’t initially qualify to access these short term funds under the original terms of the Cares Act. Access to these funds has made it possible for the property tax relief efforts to proceed, enabling county and other levels of government to provide residents with the ability to delay their property tax payments without penalties or fees.
Bellone thanked numerous political collaborators at every level of government and from both sides of the political aisle. He expressed appreciation to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) and Senator Charles Schumer (D) for helping the county borrow money without interrupting necessary services or creating financial hardship for residents.
“Nobody loves paying property taxes [but] it’s how we run government and how we can have things like the Suffolk County Health Department and police services,” while fire departments and schools also receive their funding through these taxes, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman (R) said on the call.
Schneiderman said the 45 days of relief without interest or penalties “goes a long way to helping those individuals” and that the process of receiving that delay is “fair and easy through a simple attestation.”
Separately, the number of people who tested positive for the virus fell below 100 over the last 24 hours, with 84 positive tests bringing the total number to 38,411. That figure excludes the 10,790 people who have tested positive through the antibody test.
Suffolk County, however, continues to lose residents to the pandemic. In the last day, 19 people have died. At this point, 1,791 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19.
Over the last day, 20 people have left the hospital after battling with the virus. Bellone appreciated that Anthony Greco, a retired New York City police officer and a trustee of the board of the Wantagh Union Free School District, left Mt. Sinai South Nassau Hospital today after battling the virus for 60 days.
“We could not be more excited and thrilled that Anthony is going home today after this long battle with this deadly virus,” Bellone said.
Lock Your Cars and Take Your Keys
Meanwhile, stolen motor vehicle thefts increased 21.3% through the middle of May and thefts from motor vehicles increased by 30% in that same time compared with 2019, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.
Victims not only left their cars unlocked, but left key fobs in sight, making it incredibly easy to open a car, start the engine and drive away.
The SCPD reminded residents to lock their parked cars amid the spate of thefts.