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Stop the Insanity!

A long-defunct electronics/computer/record store that dominated our tri-state television waves throughout the ’70s and ’80s – Crazy Eddie – had a spokesperson, Jerry Carroll, who would scream maniacally into the camera – "Crazy Eddie – his prices are INSAAANE!"

We and thousands of Queens co-op owners want to scream that very word at Department of Finance (DOF) commission David M. Frankel – “INSAAANE!”

The DOF has issued ludicrous property value reassessments on co-ops, which in turn have increased property taxes by as much as 125 percent.

Responding to the loud and clear protests, the DOF recently agreed to cap these increases at a mere 50 percent.

We agree with State Senator Toby Stavisky whose co-op’s market value increased by 147 percent. “No matter how you look at it, it’s poison.”

Frankel said that Queens was under-valued in past assessments.

“Why should DOF punish co-op shareholders for its own past mistakes?” asked City Councilmember Mark S. Weprin at a recent Community Board 7 meeting. “DOF should phase in major systemic changes over time instead of hitting taxpayers with huge increases all at once.”

Owen Stone of the DOF said that the department assesses the valuations on co-ops based on income per square foot of comparable rental properties.

According to testimony Frankel issued to the City Council Committee on Finance, the DOF instituted a computerized system called CAMA 2 to assist in these valuations.

“The application systematized how we select the comparable properties that are used to value co-ops and condos, using factors such as building class, location, size and building age,” said Frankel.

"INSAAANE!"

In last year’s co-op assessment, the comparable properties for 73-43 Little Neck Parkway were buildings classified as C-9 walk-up apartments, according to a report obtained from the DOF web site. The co-op itself is designated as a C-6 walk-up. Its market value was determined to be $5,410,000.However, for the coming 2011 to 2012 fiscal year, the same property was compared to storefronts, inflating its market value to $7,263,000.

Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village, claimed that selecting commercial properties further inflated the increases on the co-ops.

“It’s clear that the basis of the new calculation method is flawed and that DOF has to modify it,” said Weprin. “To say that market values are up 50 or 100 percent flies in the face of the reality of the current real estate market.”

We think a halt to this "INSAAANE!" flawed tax assessment and the resulting tax hike must be made immediately.

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