By Howard Koplowitz
Community Board 13 unanimously approved a resolution Monday slamming the city Department of Finance, which said a computer glitch was to blame for Queens co-ops receiving property tax valuations that were much higher than they expected.
In some cases, the hike was as much as 150 percent. In Glen Oaks Village, for example, the city erroneously calculated an 86 percent increase.
Bob Friedrich, the Glen Oaks Village president, said if the valuations are not changed, they would be devastating to co-ops and lead to “crushing maintenance increases.”
A Finance Department spokesman earlier told TimesLedger Newspapers the agency was in the process of sending out letters notifying co-ops of the glitch, which led to commercial properties to be the baseline for valuating co-ops, and that it would correct the errors.
But Friedrich was skeptical.
“It’s a scandal. It’s not a computer glitch. They knew what they were doing,” he said.
Friedrich said he was considering taking legal action by the middle of next month if the Finance Department does not live up to its word.
“This cannot allow to be imposed,” he said of the valuations.
The resolution acknowledged Glen Oaks Village, City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who authored a bill that would treat co-ops as homes and not rental properties, for working on the issue.
Friedrich complained at last month’s CB 13 meeting that he and other co-op presidents were not identified in the resolution, which had been tabled for Monday’s meeting, because he and his counterparts “with all due respect, have been more engaged in this battle than any elected official.”
CB 13 unanimously approved the resolution in a voice vote.
The board also honored Sue Noreika, the former chairwoman and board member, who had not been reappointed to the board this year.
CB 13 cited Noreika for being one of the original community board members and serving for more than 30 years.
She was chairwoman of the board until 2001 and has rarely been at recent meetings due to her health.
In the resolution, the board said Noreika testified at more city Board of Standard & Appeals hearings than any other community board chairman in the history of the city.
CB 13 member Corey Bearak made an amendment to the resolution to include that she was a “mentor” to many civic members and elected officials.
“It just seems fitting,” Bearak said.
CB 13 member Jonathan Raines added that she was a “role model” to the community.
The board approved the resolution unanimously.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.