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Long IslandNassau

Mangano appoints team to tackle property tax assessments

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano gave a pep talk Tuesday to a small group he appointed to help him fix the county's troubled property tax assessment system.

"It's a big job. I know some of you are in the industry, some are citizens that have dealt with this. . . . I appreciate your dedication, and your time and effort," Mangano told members of the Assessment Review Team, who are expected to report their findings to him at the end of June.

The team of eight private citizens is heavy with lawyers and real estate people - and several county officials - but also includes Garden City homeowner Bob Orosz, a frequent critic of the assessment system.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, the executive director, Patrick Foye, decided to split the session, and have team members working on commercial and residential issues meet in separate rooms. After reconvening, team members decided to hold another meeting later this month.

Orosz said after the residential session that the full team should understand the impact of high taxes on homeowners.

Mark Hamer, a Jericho real estate executive, said he understood that concern, but said the team's purpose was to improve the tax assessment system, not address high property taxes or county spending.

Orosz said homeowners were also frustrated by a lack of information about how the county fixes an assessment, and overlapping bureaucracies and computer systems.

"It should be a one-button process," Orosz said.

Brad Blumenfeld, vice president of the Blumenfeld Development Group, said the team should also look into the administrative costs of running the assessment system.

Foye said he wanted the team to address how to make the assessment system more user-friendly.

Several of those at the table said the problems were worsened because it takes the county so long to lower an assessment after a property owner wins an appeal.

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