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Residents Outraged After NYC Raises Property Taxes On Sandy-Ravaged Homes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A property tax revolt is brewing in areas of New York City hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. Residents are crying foul over the city's decision to raise the assessed value -- and the taxes -- on homes damaged by the storm.

Imagine the nerve … the chutzpah … Your home sustains more than $100,000 in damages from the hurricane and the resale value immediately plummets, only to have the city say it's actually worth more and you have to pay higher taxes, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

"I think they have a different reality and the reality is Mayor Bloomberg making money for the city. That's what counts, not the people," said Ira Zalcman, president of the Manhattan Beach Community Group.

The city has sent out higher tax bills -- pre-set before Sandy hit. Homeowners are angry they weren't readjusted down, and they're mostly angry at Bloomberg.

Zalcman said he had to pay more than $100,000 -- most out of his own pocket -- to get four feet or raw sewage and ocean water out of his basement. He said his house depreciated in value by 25 percent, but the city says it's worth $79,000 more.

"The mayor came down here after the storm and he walked around in his $1,000 shoes and he wouldn't let the community leaders even meet with him," Zalcman said.

Alexander Singer's house in Manhattan Beach sustained $130,000 in damage. His property taxes were just raised as well.

"I was totally outraged. I was annoyed. I felt the city was coming in my face, not only my face but the face of everybody who was in a similar situation," Singer said.

The mayor said the city's residents can appeal the assessments, but believe it or not he thinks the homes are worth more now.

"If you take a look after all of these disasters there have been a number of studies of beachfront properties. Prices continue to go up in spite of these things," Bloomberg said.

Homeowners are so angry they said they won't be satisfied with just getting their properties reassessed.  They said they each want a $1,000 property tax rebate and they want it now.

Homeowners are also angry because they got the new assessments the first week of February, and they only have until Friday to appeal.

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