Flood buyback plan resurfaces

Rotterdam councilman eyes program for severely flood-damaged homes

— Buffardi told The Spotlight last month there was not the “political will” to offer the buyback program, a statement Godlewski referenced during the board’s Wednesday, Sept. 26, meeting, arguing the program was not discussed by the board.

Buffardi clarified his comment and said, “When I meant not having the political will, I had not had anyone come to me and say they thought that was a good idea for us to never have these properties on the tax rolls again.”

Buffardi said the houses eligible for a buyout are not located next to one another, so the town would not be able to create a monument or place “a swing set.” He said this would lead to a patchwork of undevelopable land in Rotterdam Junction. Many of the uninhabitable homes are located in the floodplain, Godlewski said, and nobody would live there again for that risk.

In April, Buffardi estimated 12 homes could be targeted for the program.

Godlewski included in his legislative request the assessment relief approved for 23 properties in the town.

“I would like to say lets make everybody whole, but we have to be realistic,” Godlewski said. “I think we can pare it down to a number that we can work with.”

The 2012 tax bills to those properties fell by 73.5 percent, or $14,200, in the wake of the storm. Three properties had their entire tax bill waived, with six properties reduced between 95 to 85 percent from the original tax bill. The remaining properties were reduced between 55 to 65 percent.

As part of the state Assessment Relief Act, Town Assessor John Macejka Jr. said the town is required to revisit 23 properties annually to determine any changes in property value following repairs or renovations.

Macejka was hesitant to recommend buyouts because condemned properties could hold value again, he said.

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