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Nov 17, 2015 3:41 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

State Is Behind In Mailing Refunds To East Quogue Taxpayers

Theresa Kiernan, receiver of taxes for the town, speaks about payments in lieu of taxes at the annual East Quogue Civic Association meeting. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Nov 18, 2015 3:00 PM

East Quogue residents Al and Anne Algieri were happy to learn last year that a 2014 state law would entitle them a tax refund if their school district stayed under the 2-percent state-mandated cap on tax levy increases.

But, as it turns out, actually receiving the money was another matter.

The Algieris said they recently realized that they never received their property tax freeze check—they were supposed to be mailed out in January—after talking with another hamlet resident, Bob Kandell, who also did not initially receive his check.

The state started this property tax freeze credit in 2014 as a way to reimburse homeowners for increases in local property taxes on their primary residences as long as their respective school districts stay under the tax cap, according to the State Department of Taxation and Finance website. The program is a way to encourage school districts to comply with the tax cap to reduce spending.

Neither the Algieris—he serves as president of the East Quogue Civic Association—nor Mr. Kandell received their checks until they phoned the State Department of Taxation and Finance.

“The 2014 credits have already gone out, but not to everyone,” said Ms. Algieri. “And the board of the civic association discovered that even some of the board members did not get it back.”

Realizing that others also probably did not receive their checks, Ms. Algieri stood at the podium on Saturday morning during the East Quogue Civic Association’s annual meeting to instruct the estimated 50 people in attendance to call the Department of State if they are in the same situation.

Ms. Algieri said the amount residents receive is based on how much they pay in school property taxes. From talking to other residents, she said it appears people are getting back anywhere from $70 to a few hundred dollars.

East Quogue School Superintendent Robert Long chimed in at the meeting, held at the Central Avenue elementary school, noting that the district did not pierce the tax cap in 2014, meaning that residents would be eligible to receive their refund checks.

A representative from the Department of Taxation and Finance did not respond to a request for comment this week.

Joan Hughes, a hamlet resident and the chairwoman for the East Quogue Citizens Advisory Committee, said the announcement at the meeting was a good reminder for people to call the State Department of Taxation and Finance.

“I’m going to call,” Ms. Hughes said after the meeting. “I had totally forgotten about it … I heard about it when it was announced a year or so ago.”

In addition to the news about the property tax freeze check, East Quogue residents learned that the school will be receiving $1.2 million in special funding, called payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, from Southampton Town’s Community Preservation Fund starting with next year’s budget.

Theresa Kiernan, the receiver of taxes for the town, explained to attendees that they are getting the funds because there is about $104 million worth of preserved land in the hamlet that is off the tax rolls.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation at the end of October that allows the East Quogue School District to collect the funds, but at that point Ms. Kiernan had not determined how much money the district would receive.

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I never received a check in 2014. I just called the NY Tax Department at 518-453-8146. They verified my info and said that I should receive my 2014 check within 30 days. They also said it automatically puts me in the system for the 2015 credit. Best part...it took all of 2 minutes.
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Nov 18, 15 11:01 AM
... "chimed in" - give Robert Long a bit more respect than that.
By William Rodney (558), southampton on Nov 18, 15 11:32 AM
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