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Nassau lawmakers finally hold a hearing on tax elimination

The Nassau county assessor said Wednesday that it would be difficult to guarantee accurate tax invoices unless Republican lawmakers immediately approve key legislation that gradually eliminates the effects of the first revision of county property values ​​in nearly five years in nearly a decade. .

County assessor David Moog said: “Getting this done by April is essential for us to have time to make sure, because you never want to issue tax invoices for [town tax] receiver that is wrong. You cannot pull them back, and this becomes very crucial. “

He added, “Implementing the phased introduction plan effectively and accurately for 380,000 individual parcels, as well as producing tax warrants on time is a huge and complex process that will take months to complete and control properly.”

Majority Republicans finally held a legislative hearing on the bill on Wednesday evening, almost a year after Nassau County Director Laura Curran first proposed it as a measure to prevent sudden increases and decreases in taxes. The state legislature authorized the program last March, but Nassau must enact a separate local law to make the gradual change effective.

School tax bills are shipped in October, while city tax bills are delivered in January.

Curran, a Democrat, along with minority Democrats in the county legislature, said GOP lawmakers have blocked the bill for political reasons and must act quickly.

But the Republicans have claimed that they have done their due diligence and want to be sure that the reassessment was conducted accurately and correctly before agreeing on a gradual intervention.

Chris Boyle, spokesman for the majority, said Wednesday evening: “The majority is looking forward to analyzing what we have heard from Councilor Moog and the members of the community. The legislation will be called on to be implemented very long if it should pass.”

Legis. Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore) noted that the gradual switchover is unfair to homeowners who have been overrated in the past.

While tax increases are delayed for property owners due to increases, homeowners who expect reductions will have to wait five years to be taxed for their fair share of the tax burden.

“I have to wait five years to receive my reduction,” said Rhoads, characterizing residents’ concerns.

Moog said at the hearing that he had more than 30 people in the legislative chambers of Mineola: “Without approving the plan, half of Nassau’s homeowners will see an immediate and complete increase in taxes. This is a fact.” Those reductions due should wait even longer if the revaluation does not take place, he said.

County officials estimate that if the legislature passes the gradual increase, the average increase for homeowners will be $ 485. If a gradual changeover is not authorized, the median increase for homeowners is more than triple: $ 1,632, according to county projections.

Moog continued, “This is the only option to protect our residents. There is no massive bailout from New York State that can solve this problem overnight and allow property owners to immediately get their full tax cut. “.

At the hearing, Moog stressed that his staff need several months to complete each resident’s assessment – a complicated and tedious process – so that tax bills can be delivered accurately and on time.

To calculate the assessment and apply the phase-in, which functions as an exemption, staff must start writing thousands of lines of code to be inserted into an “antiquated” system, he said. Data from over 380,000 properties and over 330,000 exemptions must be applied to properties, tested and verified for an eight-week period.

Once school tax withdrawals are delivered to the county in June, staff members of the assessment department need eight weeks to incorporate the withdrawals into the tax warrants. Moog said the staff only has August to make sure that the exemptions and tuition fees are applied accurately, a month in which employees often go on vacation. He also said there should be concern about an “emerging coronavirus outbreak.”

Managing director Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said at the hearing that he was concerned that the county had changed its projections about the impact of the revaluation.

County officials released data showing tax bills on Tuesday for over 205,000 homeowners – about 53% – are expected to increase in October and January according to the progressive plan.

More than 177,000 homeowners, 46%, are expected to cut taxes for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

But last April, the Curran administration said that if the gradual introduction were approved, 55% of Nassau homeowners would likely see a reduction in property taxes being revalued.

“It’s a fairly large variance, right?” Nicolello said.

Moog said the county “uses more updated numbers.”

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