Letters: LIPA reform and tax assessment

Power lines seen at sunrise in Melville on Power lines seen at sunrise in Melville on Jan. 11, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

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Your editorial "LIPA makeover ducks key issue" [June 19] should have included the fact that the overassessment of Long Island Power Authority properties is just the tip of the reassessment iceberg in Suffolk County, especially in the Village of Northport and the Town of Huntington.

If elected leaders were interested in honesty and tax fairness, they would admit the entire property assessment system is a scam and flawed, as a result of bad law from Albany, deception, and a lack of integrity on a local level by elected leaders who have the power to make it fair.

In the past two years, the Town of Huntington has processed 14,000 property tax challenges, and these challenges are far from over. The town budget projects another 7,000 challenges in the current fiscal year. My own research tells me that as many as one-third of town properties may be under-assessed, creating an extra tax burden on their neighbors.

The complexity of the system has always been nothing more than a way to deceive taxpayers into believing everything is on the up and up. Not only that, it is a money machine for the legal profession.

Leo Montagna, Northport

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Why would Long Islanders want to add the profits of a private corporation to the fees for electricity delivery on the Island, especially for a New Jersey corporation? Why would Long Islanders want to shift jobs from Long Island to New Jersey?

The assertion that LIPA customers are unhappy with the service they receive, and with LIPA's response to superstorm Sandy, is a falsehood. I am a shareholder in a cooperative community of 2,600 families on the Rockaway peninsula -- at a remote extreme of the LIPA network and the epicenter of Sandy destruction -- and I can state that LIPA takes good care of us.

LIPA's predecessor, the Long Island Lighting Co., under which I also lived, gave us power outages (or at least power blinks) once or twice a month, regularly crashing my computers, and also squandered $6 billion on the nuclear gamble at Shoreham. Steadiness of supply was soon established by LIPA, a nonprofit and a true public utility. LIPA did heroic and successful restoration of our electricity within three weeks of the massive flooding caused by Sandy, and there has not been even a single blink of electric power in all the months since.

If there is a problem with the mismanagement of LIPA, blame for that should fall on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, since he appoints some of those responsible for overseeing LIPA.

Stephen Wohl, Rockaway Beach

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