Great Neck Estates to reassess all properties

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Trustees in the Village of Great Neck Estates voted this week to conduct a tax reassessment on all properties in the village, despite some residents' calls to consider adopting Nassau County's tax assessment instead.

The village plans to hire Michael Haberman Associates of Mineola to conduct the reassessment. The firm would base the new home assessments on the fair market value of properties on Jan. 1, 2013.

No contract for the work has been approved yet.

Mayor David A. Fox said that the village had been considering doing a reassessment for several years, and said the decision on Monday to move ahead would likely reduce the amount of money the village pays out in tax certiorari cases by making the basis for the individual assessments more defensible in court.

Historically, the village has paid roughly $200,000 a year in tax certiorari cases it has lost, Fox said.

"Those numbers tell us quite probably that the means we use for assessing the village aren't necessarily correct," he said. "The fair market value of a house is the basis of what we should use."

He also said that the measure would increase fairness in the village, and estimated that a quarter of homes in the village are underassessed.

But several residents expressed concern about the move. Jay Citron, who has lived in the village since 1965, said he was worried the measure would hit older residents hardest by increasing the assessment of older, original homes that may not have been reassessed for years.

"People like myself are going to see an increase," Citron said to the board. "I'm on a fixed income. I've lived here a long time. I feel very much part of the village, and I would not like to be forced out."

Jay Corn, chairman of the village's board of assessors, urged the board to consider adopting the county's assessment instead, pointing out that the village would save thousands of dollars in fees to the assessment company while shifting the burden of defending against tax certiorari cases to the county.

"If we have a county [that] spent $50 million on a reassessment and will defend it for us, why shouldn't we take advantage of that?" Corn asked.

Fox dismissed the idea, arguing that the county's system was too flawed.

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