Nassau County disputes its responsibility to reimburse its three towns $185 million for garbage tax refunds to utilities [“Garbage fees pick up,” News, Dec. 14]. The county is appealing a court decision saying it must pay the towns.
Leaving aside the issue that it was the county that improperly assessed these properties in the first place, the county guarantee of property tax refunds isn’t fair. Why should taxpayers in Roosevelt pay for school tax refunds in Garden City? I also argued against the guarantee when I was the county comptroller.
The problem is that the courts have consistently held that the guarantee is state law. Only the State Legislature can change this law.
New York’s highest court left standing a ruling that the county must reimburse the towns for the garbage tax refunds. But the county continues to fight. All taxpayers lose, as the interest owed and legal fees run up. The only winners are the law firms handling this case.
The county guarantee might not be fair, but it is the law.
Howard Weitzman, North Hills
Editor’s note: The writer was Nassau County comptroller from 2001 to 2009 and is a financial consultant to the Town of North Hempstead.