The Feb. 14 edition of Yorktown News had a letter entitled “What is a set-aside law?”
First, there is nothing “simple” about this law or its cost. Secondly, though the editor clearly indicates the writer is “chair of the Yorktown Community Housing Board,” nowhere is it stated the writer is also the senior vice president for housing of WestHab, an affordable housing company.
The write asks in his letter to inquire as to where current Yorktown residents come from and answers his question with “Bronx, Manhattan, Yonkers, etc.” But what he doesn’t state that these people also paid for their homes at market rate.
There was a preliminary discussion at the Yorktown Town Board work session of Jan. 22 about an affordable housing set-aside law. Missing from this discussion was the total number of individual housing units within the town that are already “affordable,” “below market rate” or “property tax reduced” through myriad programs.
For example, housing units built under the prior town law; housing units built or obtained through the county program; housing units subsidized through the Section 8 program; housing units covered by other programs such as disabled citizens, senior citizens, direct subsidies, etc.
How many properties/housing units have had their property tax assessments reduced or eliminated because they are now considered as “affordable” or are covered under another type of housing or property tax reduction program?
How many properties/housing units have assessments that would have been initially higher but that have been built to be specifically covered under an “affordable program”?
What is the property tax reduction percentage from those properties/housing units that went from a “non-program status” to a “program status”? What does that equate to in reduced taxes to the town and to the school district?
What is the reduced property valuation on those properties built as a “program status” properties from what the valuation would have been if they were built as “non-program status” properties? What does that equate to in reduced taxes to the town and to the school district?
Note: By “affordable,” I mean any and all properties or housing units that have property tax valuations that are less than what they would have been except for the fact that they are included in a “program.”
These questions have to be answered before we add more below-market-rate housing units in the town of Yorktown. And, in the interest of transparency, the cost to the town and school district in lost tax revenue.