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Nassau assessment notices had wrong date for final values

The notices say the new values will become final in April 2021, but actually, they will be final in April 2020 — and will be used in the October 2020 school tax bills.

The Nassau County Department of Assessment in Mineola

The Nassau County Department of Assessment in Mineola on Oct. 3. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

A wrong date was included in Nassau’s tax impact statements that were posted online and mailed to county residents over the past few weeks, county officials acknowledged Wednesday.

The notices, which estimate the projected change in property tax bills resulting from the reassessment authorized by County Executive Laura Curran, say the new values will become final in April 2021.

But the values, which will be part of the tentative assessment roll issued next month, will actually become final a year earlier — in April 2020 — and will be used in the October 2020 school tax bills.

Newsday asked Nassau about the mistake after being notified by Plainview homeowner Richard Siegelman that he had found an error in the tax impact statement that he received in the mail last week.

He sent Newsday a copy of the “Explanation of Terms” listed on the back page of his notice. In a paragraph titled “Preliminary Tentative Assessment,” it says the new assessment will become final in April 2021. Newsday subsequently sampled several tax impact notices posted online and found the same mistake.

“I’m a retired teacher,” Siegelman said in an interview. “I’m a careful reader. When I read it ... it didn’t seem right to me.”

The county was directed by the county legislature to send notices by Nov. 15 to Nassau’s more than 424,000 business and commercial property owners, estimating how the new assessments would change their property tax bills.

The county says all single-family statements have been mailed. Notices for condominium and co-op owners and commercial properties are currently going out, said Curran spokeswoman Karen Contino.

She said in an email that the error appeared to be a simple typo. She said new notices would not be mailed. “Nothing on the actual tax impact notice is incorrect,” she said. “The only error is on the explanation of terms, which is not legally part of the notice.”

Contino said  about 5 p.m. Wednesday that the mistake has  “already been corrected online.” As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the error was still in the online tax impact notice for Curran’s North Baldwin house but by 5 p.m. was corrected.

The date error comes after the county had to redo 20,000 assessment disclosure notices, which notified homeowners of their new house values, because they included assessments that increased by more than the 6 percent allowed by state law.

The county amended 60,000 tax impact notices that had been posted online because they included tentative, rather than final values. And Assessor David Moog said last week he is adjusting more than 40,000 assessments in response to thousands of homeowners who called, emailed or attended one-on-one sessions with assessment staff to discuss their new values. Moog said such adjustments are normal after a full reassessment.

Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), presiding officer of the Republican-controlled county legislature, said, “I think this series of errors is eroding the confidence of the public in this process. It gives the appearance that they rushed to get this done. Their first job is to get it right not just to get it done.”

A spokesman for Nassau Democratic lawmakers declined to comment.

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