New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community
Frank Lovece in Board Operations on August 23, 2013
"Every candidate was asked about the tax-cap bill that's been pending a couple of years," attorney Geoffrey Mazel, the event chairperson, told Habitat, referring to bills proposed by State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D - 16th District) and Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D - 26th District) that would tax cooperatives and condominium apartments in the same manner as houses, including with annual caps on increases. "Every candidate committed to some sort of tax structural reform," Mazel said. "They all acknowledged the problems with the system, they all acknowledged co-ops and condos are taxed unfairly."
He added that every candidate agreed to support the creation of a co-op and condo task force, comprised of professionals and board members, that would act as a liaison with the mayor's office on issues important to that community.
Absent from the Discussion
Not attending this first and so far only forum devoted to co-op and condo issues were New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and Liu's predecessor, Bill Thompson.
Moderated by political reporter Azi Paybarah of the website Capital New York, and sponsored by the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council and the Queens County Bar Association, the forum was held from 7 to 9 p.m. at North Shore Towers in Floral Park. A town-hall rally was held there last year to support the Stavisky / Braunstein legislation. Each candidate was given a 15-minute slot to answer the moderator's questions.
The hopefuls briefly addressed an ombudsman bill by State Sen. Liz Krueger's (D - 28th District) that would provide oversight of co-op admissions. "Some of the candidates danced around it a little bit," Mazel said, noting that City Council chair Christine Quinn, a Democrat, and former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chair Joseph J. Lhota, a Republican, "were against it. A couple of them kicked the can down the road a little bit because they were not that familiar with it."
Also attending were Democrats Sal Albanese, a former City Council member; former Congressman Anthony Weiner; and the Rev. Erick Salgado; and Republicans John Catsimatidis and George McDonald, both from the business community.
Estimates of the crowd size (see image above; click to enlarge) ranged from 400 to 700, partly due to overflow audience members watching the proceedings in a movie theater on the property.
Photos courtesy Geoffrey Mazel
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