By Mara Gay
Tax bills on New York City commercial property have soared under Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to city data.
The average tax bill, without abatements, is set to jump to $111,023 in fiscal 2017, which ends June 30, from $85,841 in fiscal 2013, the last full fiscal year former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in office, the data show.
The annual increases have been driven largely by increases in assessments of the value of properties, as well as a small increase in the tax rate for commercial properties.
In all, the average commercial property tax bill has jumped 29.3% since Mr. de Blasio's tenure.
Teresa Brzozowska, the owner of Montague Wine and Spirits in Brooklyn Heights, as well as the building that the store is in, said her property tax bill has increased to $80,910 from $53,407 in fiscal 2013.
"It's shocking," she said. "It's just a little shop."
Ms. Brzozowska, who has owned the building since 1989, said the increases in the past five years have made it nearly impossible for her to stay in business without raising prices.
Thomas Scarangello, co-owner of Scaran Heating and Air Conditioning in Staten Island, said a tax exemption for the company's main building had helped blunt the effects of some of the increases in recent years. But he said the tax bill for another building on the property went up by 15% last year.
"We feel it," Mr. Scarangello said. "Those kinds of increases just hit you in the bottom line."
The city's overall tax rate, of 12.283%, has remained flat since Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, took office in 2014.
The rate for commercial property owners is 10.574% for fiscal 2017, down from last year's 10.656% but up from 10.288% in fiscal 2013.
"The property tax rate has not increased since Mayor de Blasio took office, and the mayor has been very clear he has no plans to change it," said Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, in a statement. "The rate remains the same today as it was on Jan. 1, 2014, and it is significantly lower than all of NYC's neighboring communities."
But tax bills are calculated by a formula that includes the assessed value of a property as well as its tax rate.
Rising assessments made by the city have driven the tab for many property owners higher even in years when tax rates ticked down.
Taxable assessed values have increased at an average annual rate of 6.5% from fiscal years 2013 to 2017 under Mr. de Blasio, compared with 6% from fiscal years 2002 to 2013 under Mr. Bloomberg, according to city data.
A former city official familiar with the city's tax system said mayors can largely raise propertyvalue assessments for commercial properties at will.
The average tax bill for large rental properties rose to $4,128 from $3,269 between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2017, while the bill for co-ops and condos increased to $7,644 from $6,086, according to the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan watchdog group. The group found the average tax bill for small homes rose to $5,261 from $4,213 in the same period.
But commercial property owners pay the greatest share of the city's property taxes, even though single family homeowners make up the biggest share of property values, said Maria Doulis, vice president of the watchdog group.
"Those costs are then passed down to businesses and consumers," she said.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 12, 2017 20:57 ET (01:57 GMT)
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