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Hempstead residents get another 20 days to pay first half of tax bills

Hempstead Town Hall is seen in this undated

Hempstead Town Hall is seen in this undated photo. Credit: Ian J. Stark

A state judge this week settled a legal dispute between Hempstead Town and Nassau County that will allow Hempstead town residents to pay their general tax bills 20 days later than usual.

Lawyers for both sides said the settlement approved by Supreme Court Justice George Peck calls for the town to send bills for county, town and special district taxes on Jan. 19 while Hempstead town residents will have until March 1 to pay the first half without penalty.

Usually the bills go out the first week in January with the first payment due Feb. 10.

County and town officials blamed each other for the delay, which stemmed from Nassau removing from its assessment roll hundreds of properties owned by the Long Island Power Authority and operated by PSEG Long Island. LIPA contended it should make payments in lieu of taxes while any increases should be capped at 2 percent.

After the assessor’s office said it completed the changes on Dec. 20, the county legislature approved an amended roll Dec. 21. Town town tax receivers say they did not get the data until Dec. 29.

The county said it has transmitted tax information in the past by Dec. 29 without delays to the tax bills. But Hempstead sued, saying the changes were made after the town approved its budget and would cut into time given resident to pay.

County Attorney Carnell Foskey said the extension was granted “as a result of the town’s concerns regarding its ability to generate the relevant tax bills.”

But Matt Coleman, spokesman for Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino, said: “No matter how hard you try to put lipstick on a pig, you cannot hide the fact that this entire issue stems from Nassau County altering its flawed assessment information two months after towns passed budgets relying on Nassau’s own assessment data. That’s why Supervisor Santino and the Hempstead Town Board went to court to provide residents with 20 additional days to pay their taxes without penalty.”

The extension applies only to Hempstead Town residents.

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