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Spigner addresses IREM on housing.

At a recent Institute of Real Estate Management luncheon Councilman Archie Spigner showed concern for a number of the problems facing the city's multi-family housing industry.

The 31st floor banquet aerie of the St. Moritz Hotel, surrounded by some of the city's toniest dwellings, was an apropos placeto discuss water, lead and property taxes, which affect every housing price range.

Water bills have a devastating effect on housing in general, Spigner observed, with a particular emphasis on low- and moderate-income dwellings. Unfortunately, he continued, rates are set by the Water Board, which was granted the authority by state law.

Spigner pointed to a $200 million Water Board surplus and noted the Council has told the board to either redistribute the money or reduce the rates. lie is hopeful `that COBRA (the Council Off-Budget Review and Accountability Act), which would give greater oversight to the City Council with regard to authorities and non'budget connected agencies, will be passed in Albany, as well.

Spigner said lead was "the mother of asbestos and the mother of water," particularly if court mandated abatement becomes necessary. Costs per two'bedroom unit have been estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 to fully abate and encapsulate lead paint and Spigner deemed such a program the end of the housing industry.

"We don't need any more buildings in rem," he added.

As the head of the Mayor's Lead Task Force, Spigner is hopeful that critical areas the group has identified, including windows and doors, can be the focus of abatement law efforts. Spigner acknowledged the involvement of the Real Estate Board of New York, the Small Property Owners and the Rent Stabil ization Association with the task force.

"John Gilbert [the Rent Stabilization Association's president], has a good grasp of this issue and is quite an expert on it," Spigner said.

The Council is also concerned about the health of business and is working with the mayor to hold down additional real estate tax increases, Spigner said.

Pointing to the inequities of the real estate tax system, particularly between single-family homes and the cooperatives/condominiums, Spigner observed that the single-family Class I house is assessed at only 6 percent to 7 percent of its value while a Class II condo is assessed at 45 percent, and pays that much more.

"I live in a Class I," Spigner admitted, "but I have to look beyond my own self interest as a legislator ... to do for the city as a whole. We don't want to see more buildings delinquent."
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Title Annotation:New York, New York Councilman Archie Spigner; Institute of Real Estate Management
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Apr 7, 1993
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