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Hochul signs executive order to support vulnerable homeowners amid winter surge


Mon, Dec 27th 2021 10:55 am

Allows local governments to suspend in-person renewal requirement to extend property tax exemptions for low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities

√ Executive order also permits labs to use out-of-state facilities for COVID-19 testing of New York specimens to increase testing capacity & reduce delays

√ Provides Legislature with discretion to meet remotely under Open Meetings Law, expiring Jan. 15

Gov. Hochul has signed an executive order to help support vulnerable homeowners amid the current surge of COVID-19 cases. The executive order allows local governments to lift an in-person renewal requirement for property tax exemptions for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

"As we battle this winter surge, we are using every tool to protect our most vulnerable neighbors," Hochul said. "The thousands of low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on property tax exemptions should not have to risk their health and safety to remain in their homes. With this order, I am allowing local governments to take common-sense action to protect seniors from COVID-19, provide tax relief to those who need it most, and prevent vulnerable New Yorkers from losing their homes this winter."

The governor's executive order includes two additional actions to support public health as New York state combats the omicron variant and wave of cases. Amid an increased demand for testing, Hochul's order will permit certified clinical laboratories to use out-of-state facilities for New Yorkers' COVID-19 testing to mitigate testing capacity issues.

In addition, the order grants the New York State Senate and Assembly – through Jan. 15 – the discretion to meet remotely, consistent with legislation passed in September that currently applies to other public bodies. The law allows public bodies to meet remotely, but requires the contents of the meetings to be publicly available.

Under the governor's executive order, local governments can automatically renew 2022 benefits for all property owners who received the benefit in 2021 unless the locality has reason to believe an individual has changed their primary address, added another owner to the deed, transferred the property to a new owner, or passed away.

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