By Chief Ray Maseda
March 27, 2020

Fire District Commissioners feel a tax grace period makes sense, but will need town help.

Hartsdale Fire Commissioners have been actively researching and considering a two-month tax grace period for those who are suffering a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Fire District fully understands the difficult financial times some members of our community may be going through. Loss of income to residents and businesses is an unfortunate financial reality in these times. As we continue to serve the community 24 hours / 7 days during the outbreak, your health, safety and peace of mind are our priority.

The Board of Fire Commissioners feel that a 2-month tax grace period for those affected with financial hardships makes sense right now.

Because a tax grace period due to a disaster is an unprecedented action, there are several legal hurdles that must be overcome. The Fire District hopes that with the assistance and cooperation of the Town Board of Greenburgh, we could offer this grace period to our affected residents. The Fire District feels strongly this action is in line with our mission of protecting the public when it is needed most.

This tax grace period is still being researched and the Fire District will keep you informed as information becomes available.

Below is the original text of Supervisor Feiner’s post on the Greenburgh Town website:

Posted on: March 21, 2020
Suggesting that Westchester, town and paid fire districts have grace period for taxes due in April
Recommendation: Westchester, Fairview, Hartsdale & Greenville Fire district and town should offer grace period to those who are out of work (or suffered hardships) as a result of coronavirus. County considering. Other coronavirus updates posted below.
Will the town, county, fire districts have a grace period on taxes due on April 30th? And, other major coronavirus updates
The town, county and fire district taxes are due on April 30th. During the past two weeks I have written numerous e mails (and have had discussions during our conference calls) to county officials and to other municipal officials from around the county suggesting that we offer a grace period for the county/town/fire district taxes for those who lost their jobs or suffered enormous business problems during the coronavirus crisis.

It’s easier said than done. According to NYS law, all towns in Westchester must guarantee Westchester County 100% of the taxes due whether they are collected or not. If you don’t pay your full tax bill - the town is required to write a check to the county for the amount, whether we receive it or not. The only way a grace period could work would be for the county to agree to received delayed payments on the amount not paid. We would also need cooperation from the three paid fire districts - Fairview, Greenville and Hartsdale. I wrote letters to each of the paid fire districts earlier this week asking if they would support a grace period of two months or more.

At the conference call yesterday the County Executive indicated that he will direct the County Attorney to review options and to provide us with a report next week. The County Attorney will provide a memo to the County Executive and Board of Legislators outlining their options on extending tax payments. What hardship provisions could be enacted.

I believe that something must be done for those who are suffering significant hardships and will continue to try very hard to obtain some kind of relief. People are suffering. And other levels of government (federal, state) are also helping.

It should be mentioned that there are some downsides --some governments could have cash flow problems since they depend on the revenue. Westchester and local governments will lose significant revenue as a result of the coronavirus--sales tax, hotel tax, mortgage tax revenues will be down. Although we are focusing on health and safety now, after this crisis passes every government will face enormous budgetary issues. So many people are losing jobs --after this crisis is over we will have to figure out ways to create new jobs and to help those who have lost their jobs so we can avoid a 2nd Great Depression.