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Nassau panel approves assessment challenge extension 

A resolution directing Nassau County’s Assessment Review Commission to extend the deadline to April 30 for filing property tax grievances was approved unanimously by a county legislative committee Monday.

The proposal, filed by majority Republicans, would give taxpayers an extra 60 days to challenge their property assessments.

County Executive Laura Curran announced after Republicans submitted their proposal that the county Assessment Review Commission had agreed to move the deadline to April 30, from March 1.

But Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said Republicans would not withdraw the legislation because Curran had reversed herself in the past

“We don’t know that she’s not going to change her mind," Nicolello said after the committee meeting. "In three weeks they can decide that deadline is too far. We have no faith that they are going to abide by April 30 — they can change it overnight,”

Legis. Steve Rhoads (R-Wantagh) said lawmakers took Curran at her word last March when she set a level of property assessment at .25, only to drop it to .1 in September, causing confusion and late tax notices.

“Doing it with legislation is our way to guarantee that we won’t have a repeat of that,” Rhoads said.

Four Republicans and three Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the legislation.

Curran, a Democrat who took office last January, has faced criticism from Republicans and others in recent weeks for her administration’s countywide plan to reassess more than 400,000 properties for the 2020-21 tax year.

Administration officials said it was unclear whether the GOP  resolution passed in committee Monday was legal. The county attorney’s office would issue an opinion before the full legislature votes on the bill Jan. 28, officials said.

In a letter to majority and minority leaders, Curran asked for a grace period, rather than the proposed resolution.

"The goal of my administration is to provide fair and accurate values for all property owners in Nassau County, while preserving the right to grieve" their assessments, Curran wrote.

"Historically, a grace period has been provided by ARC with bipartisan support, but never legislated," she said. "This includes last year’s extension, which was supported by both the Majority and Minority caucuses. I request that we continue using a grace period, rather than the proposed Resolution." 

Republicans, who voted for the countywide reassessment, say constituents need more time to understand how the county arrived at the new property values used for taxing purposes.

Tentative assessed values for the 2020-2021 tax year for every Nassau County property have been finalized and posted online.  Property owners will receive a Notice of Tentative Assessed Value by mail before the end of the month.

Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), legislative minority leader, said it was important to have the  resolution the committee approved Tuesday.  

“Being that the system is new, it warrants more time so every single resident can understand. It codifies the new deadline and shows our commitment to the taxpayers,” Abrahams said.   

The measure will require approval of the full county Legislature.

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