Council seeks relief for small businesses under AVI, aid for seniors

Many observers praise the newest Councilmembers - Bill Green, Curtis Jones Jr., and Maria Quinones Sanchez, above - for lighting a fire under their Council comrades. Sanchez credits the leadership for being open to new ideas. (Jessica Griffin / Staff, File)

Small commercial properties will see increases to their tax bills under the Actual Value Initiative, a new property-tax system based on market values.

In light of that, City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez wants to aid small business that could get hit twice under AVI.

Last year to raise money for schools, Council increased the use-and-occupancy tax which is 5.5 percent of the value of the business portion of a property.

Quinones-Sanchez introduced a bill today that would exempt the first $2,000 of use-and-occupancy tax for every property in the city. This measure, Quinones-Sanchez says would go a long way to aid small businesses.

The use-and-occupancy tax provides revenue for the school district and Quinones-Sanchez' bill will also create a city-side of the tax which would be 1.38 percent of the business portion of the property. The overall use-and-occupancy rate would remain the same as more revenue will likely be generated from the tax under AVI than in previous years.

And as the Daily News reported today, some residents are not getting the message about the homestead exemption, a relief measure that would reduce a homeowner's assessment by $30,000. 

To aid seniors, Councilman Brian O'Neill intorduced a bill that would authorize the Revenue Department to reenroll low-income seniors who participating in the tax freeze program and will have lower tax bill sunder AVI. Under the bill, seniors in the program would also have the homestead applied to their assessments automatically.