SPRINGFIELD- Homeowners in Gifford, Washington and Brockport have made progress in rebuilding their homes after the Nov. 17 tornadoes in 2013.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) moved legislation today to help those rebuilding and repairing their homes receive relief from an unknown technicality.

“The devastation left by the Nov. 17 tornadoes created unplanned expenses for Gifford homeowners,” Bennett said. “The cost of rebuilding and repairing is high enough without the additional expenses of higher property taxes.”  

Senate Bill 3314 changes the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption. Under current law, to receive the exemption a home must be rebuilt within 110 percent of its original size following destruction due to a natural disaster.

However, many homeowners did not know about this technicality and built larger homes. Now their applications for exemptions have been denied. Bennett advanced this initiative to allow those homeowners to receive the exemption.  

“The residents of Gifford have already been through enough,” Bennett said. “We need to do what we can to allow them to ease through the recovery process.”

On Nov. 17, 2013, tornadoes destroyed nearly 30 homes in the village of Gifford. More than 40 other homes suffered major damage, and about 125 had minor damage. Total damage was estimated at $60 million.

The area was denied federal disaster relief because it was determined too small to qualify.

Senate Bill 3314 passed the Senate’s Committee on Revenue and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

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