Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Oyster Bay’s mailers attacking the county’s property reassessment were "garbage" in a campaign ad posted online Wednesday.
Oyster Bay has spent $112,842.50 on printing and postage for five mailers, according to Curran’s campaign, citing documents provided by the town in response to Freedom of Information Law requests.
"You’ve been getting a lot of garbage in your mail about assessment recently," Curran says in the ad in which she is dressed as a sanitation worker and rides on the back of a garbage truck. Curran opens a garbage can to reveal Oyster Bay mailers that she then dumps into the truck.
Elected officials in Oyster Bay and Hempstead, where Republicans dominate, have sent out mailers criticizing Curran, a Democrat, over the countywide reassessment that has hit taxpayers for the first time in the 2020-21 tax year.
The five Oyster Bay mailers state that if residents’ property taxes went up in 2021, they should blame the reassessment or the Curran administration. Two of the mailers indicate that they were sent by Tax Receiver Jeffrey Pravato, and the others were sent by combinations of elected town officials, including Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
Oyster Bay’s annual budget contains dozens of tax levies, but only the general fund tax applies to all properties. In 2021, the town’s general fund levy decreased, but some other levies increased. How the combination of those changes affects a particular property’s overall taxes in any given year depends on which levies it is subject to.
Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin declined to speak to Newsday but emailed a statement from Pravato, a Republican, whom he said was responsible for the town’s mailers.
"My office has been inundated with thousands of calls from residents outraged over higher taxes caused by Laura Curran’s reassessment and higher county sewer taxes," Pravato’s statement said. "For years, the town has communicated (similar to the County Executive herself) with residents about tax deadlines and the cause of tax shifts while offering free assistance with grieving one’s assessment."
The Curran campaign referred questions to Nassau County Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, who said the towns had used taxpayer dollars to send "political" mailings.
"What is the governmental reason for attacking the assessment system? Nothing," Jacobs said in an interview. "It’s just giving me your view on whether the county is doing something right, and the county is run right now by a Democrat."
The five Oyster Bay mailers were printed by Copiague-based Tobay Printing Company Inc., according to information the Curran campaign obtained from a Freedom of Information Law request.