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Assessors' reactions to Mangano plan mixed

While many assessors believe annual assessments are the most fair, others argued Wednesday that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's decision to move toward reassessments every four years is more "taxpayer friendly."

Smithtown assessor Gregory Hild, whose town last reassessed all its residential property in 1947, said annual assessments add unnecessary uncertainty for taxpayers. "There has to be some stability for property owners," he said.

Mike Bernard, the Babylon Town assessor and president of the Suffolk County Assessors' Association, agreed, saying, "What taxpayers have to go through to do an annual reassessment and to do it correctly is almost an impossible feat.

"Why should we put that burden of fear into the taxpayers here that the majority of them are fairly satisfied?" said Bernard, a Democrat whose town last reassessed all residential property in 1952.

But Eileen Weaver, a community activist and a homeowner in Freeport for 23 years, said she believes the assessment should be done every two years to spare homeowners a larger tax hike. A four-year assessment "would save the county whatever the cost of doing the assessment is for a year, but would give the homeowner the shock of what will inevitably be a huge increase in taxes after four years," she said.

New York State prefers annual assessments, as does James Parrott, the deputy director and chief economist for the Fiscal Police Institute. He said that without annual assessments, property owners who live in neighborhoods that are rapidly increasing in value will pay less than their fair share of taxes.

"Infrequent assessments will open the door to greater inequities and greater cynicism regarding local government," he said.

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