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Nassau report: Reassessment to spark tax hikes, decreases

The report was issued after two GOP officials demanded Democratic County Executive Laura Curran hold forums about the countywide reassessment she authorized earlier this year.

Cory Eisner, 63, holds his Nassau County tax

Cory Eisner, 63, holds his Nassau County tax impact notice outside his Levittown home on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

A county budget analyst Wednesday forecast that 200,000 Nassau homeowners will see increases in their overall property taxes because of the county reassessment while 185,000 will get decreases.

But he cautioned the amounts may be magnified or diminished because tax rates are likely to change before the new values are used to calculate 2020 tax bills.

Maurice Chalmers, director of the county legislature's budget review office, also predicted that more than 39,000 homeowners will receive school tax bill increases of more than $3,000. The largest number of households seeing tax hikes are located in the Great Neck, Port Washington, Jericho and Hewlett-Woodmere school districts, Chalmers said.

In a report to county lawmakers, Chalmers said another 33,406 homeowners could receive school tax decreases of $3,000 or more — with the highest numbers in the Massapequa district and again in the Great Neck district.

Chalmers' report was released after two elected Republicans earlier Wednesday demanded Democratic County Executive Laura Curran hold public forums in communities throughout Nassau to answer questions about the countywide reassessment she authorized earlier this year.

Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), legislative presiding officer, and Hempstead Town Tax Receiver Donald Clavin said Curran also needs to explain why 20,000 recently mailed assessment disclosure notices had to be redone because of undefined “clerical errors.”

At a news conference in his office, Clavin said, “Laura Curran wanted the reassessment. Laura Curran pushed for the reassessment. Now she has to answer questions about the reassessment.”

Notices disclosing the new property values were mailed to Nassau’s more than 400,000 residential and business property owners by Nov. 1; mailings estimating the tax impact of the changes are due Dec. 1.

Nicolello said he has scheduled a public hearing Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in Mineola for homeowners to ask questions of County Assessor David Moog. “If the assessor doesn’t want to come, we will subpoena him,” Nicolello said.

Moog said he will attend if invited. “I am not hiding from it,” he said.

Moog also said staff from the county Assessment Department and the Assessment Review Commission — but not Curran — will hold public forums in each of the 19 legislative districts.

Curran’s office did not make her available to comment on Nicolello and Clavin's demand.

Moog said, “Laura is not the assessor. I’m the county assessor.”

Somebody could be heard whispering answers to Moog during a telephone interview. But Moog denied that anyone was whispering to him. “I’m answering the questions,” Moog said.

He said 20,000 notices were reissued because the county had raised assessments higher than the annual 6 percent allowed by state law. He said half involved vacant land and the rest were single-family homes. But he said the assessments were capped at 6 percent before tax impact notices were mailed.

At the news conference, Michele Sparaccio, a Freeport resident who works for Clavin, distributed a copy of her disclosure notice, which listed her neighborhood as “Amityville, Freeport” — a community that does not exist.

Sparaccio also showed the county estimated her taxes will jump from $9,295 to $14,591 — a 57 percent increase. “I am being taxed out of my house,” she said.

Curran has proposed a five-year phase-in of the new values. Moog said the disclosure notices went out so errors could be corrected by Jan. 1, when the new values will be issued as part of the county’s tentative assessment roll.

“The reassessment is excellent,” Moog said, citing a report from an outside expert. “He did a review of our values and found them to be very accurate.”

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