Property Tax May Go Down
Property Tax May Go Down
By Richard Gentilviso
The very unpopular 18.5 percent property tax increase instituted last year may soon be lowered, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the United Community Civic Association (UCCA) October meeting in Astoria Heights.
Based on a formula of an expected $150 million increase in city revenues and a $300 million reduction in city expenditures next year, Bloomberg said, "I can look you in the eye and tell you I have a reasonably decent expectation of bringing down the property tax somewhat in the next two years." However, the mayor warned, the city is still facing a $2 billion deficit next year followed by a $3 billion deficit the year after that.
Bloomberg pointed to the city’s new lease agreement with the Port Authority as providing a total of $50 million for capital projects in Queens, $10 million a year for five years.
Bloomberg said the city’s struggles were not as bad as those in the past in spite of the large economic deficits. "Things are different today than in the ‘70s," he said, adding "things really are, on balance, better. We haven’t given up on basic services."
"Somebody’s got to pay for it," he said, noting the personal income, sales and property taxes have all been raised in the past year. Bloomberg said the personal income and sales taxes will both be lowered by law soon.
In a letter dated October 3, Bloomberg asked all city agencies for another three percent cut in their budgets by the end of the month. "I’d like to be able to reduce the tax burden by reducing the property tax increase that we put through, and that’s going to depend on us finding ways to provide better services so that the taxpayers are spending less money so that the deficit goes away," he said, according to a report in the October 8 New York Sun.
Praising the work of the New York Police Department in continuing to reduce crime, Bloomberg acknowledged the city must be able to continue to deliver the same services while, at the same time, making them more efficient.
"There’s good reason to be optimistic," Bloomberg said, citing real estate values. On education, he said, "Are we changing New York City schools? I think so," although he admitted there was no money to build new schools.
Asked about supporting mandatory campaign finance participation for all city election candidates, Bloomberg replied, "I did not win the [’01] election by spending $73 million. I got myself reasonably close and I think they [the voters] didn’t want the other guy. Next time, make no mistake about it, I will run for re-election on my record."
Bloomberg attended the UCCA meeting just hours after viewing the deluge from a 108-year-old burst water main in Manhattan. He said the damage from the water main break was insignificant when compared to the serious injury and loss of life in the tragic accident on the Staten Island Ferry the previous day.
City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., also in attendance at the UCCA meeting, hailed the mayor for fitting the event into his schedule. "The mayor missed the beginning of Game Seven against Boston in order to come to Astoria and speak to us. That shows a real commitment," Vallone said.