TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandPolitics

Nassau projections: More than 205,000 homes to get tax hikes

On Tuesday, Newsday politics reporter Scott Eidler talked about tax bills for Nassau County homeowners. About 53% are projected to rise in October and January under County Executive Laura Curran's reassessment plan. Credit: Newsday / Bill Perlman; Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara; Howard Schnapp

Tax bills for more than 205,000 homeowners in Nassau County — about 53% — are projected to rise in October and January under County Executive Laura Curran’s reassessment plan, according to new county projections.

More than 177,000 property owners — 46% — are expected to get tax reductions for the 2020-21 tax year, officials said in a report to the county Legislature.

The projections are based on Curran's proposal to phase in the reassessment — the first in nearly a decade — over five years, in order to spread out changes in the tax burden.

The median increase for homeowners, if the phase-in takes effect, will be $485. If a phase-in is not authorized, the median increase for homeowners will be $1,632, according to county projections.

The county's report did not include data about median decreases.

The Republican-controlled county Legislature must approve Curran's plan, and a legislative hearing to consider it is scheduled for Wednesday night.

In making the projections, county officials used new home values and last year's school, county, town and village tax levies to estimate property tax bills for residents in October, when school tax bills come out, and January, when municipal tax bills arrive.

In 15 of the 19 legislative districts across Nassau County, taxes are expected to increase for more than half of residents.

The proportion of homeowners expected to see tax increases will be highest — 57% — in the 16th Legislative District, covering Plainview, Jericho, Old Westbury and Roslyn Heights and represented by Legis. Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), and the 17th, which is represented by Legis. Rose Marie Walker (R-Hicksville) and includes sections of Bethpage, Farmingdale, and Hicksville.

The proportion of homeowners expected to see tax decreases will be highest — 56% — in District 2, which is represented by Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury) and includes Hempstead, Westbury, New Cassel, and Uniondale, and 55% in District 1, which is represented by the Minority Leader, Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), and includes Roosevelt and Uniondale.

If the phase-in is approved, the largest median increase will be $733 in the 18th District, which is represented by Legis. Joshua Lafazan, who is not registered with a political party and from Woodbury, and includes parts of Syosset, Oyster Bay, Old Brookville, East Hills, Locust Valley, and Bayville.

In an interview, Nassau County Assessor David Moog called it “very normal after a reassessment that half the properties see increases, while the other half sees decreases."

Moog said the reassessment sought to "correct any inequities" in the assessment roll.

“We have total confidence in the assessment roll, and its overall accuracy,” Moog said.

“We also believe that since it took 10 years of a frozen roll before the reassessment, it'll take us five years to get everything on an even keel on the billing side," Moog said. "There are some dramatic changes, some increases that will be larger so those people can adjust their budgets over five years.”

In a letter to county legislators Curran said: "Doing nothing is simply not an option."

She said her plan "properly balances the need to restore fairness and equity to the roll with the obligation to protect residents and the local housing market from sudden and drastic increases in tax burden. In doing so, the plan would provide a steady path forward for all residents after nearly a decade of turmoil under the broken and unfair assessment system."

County projections of tax bill changes have shifted over the past two years.

In November 2018, the legislature's Office of Legislative and Budget Review found that 48.1%, or 185,638 residential properties, were expected to see tax decreases under reassessment, while 51.9% — 200,368 parcels — would get increases. That calculation did not include a phase-in.

Last April, the Curran administration said if the phase-in were approved, 55% of Nassau homeowners were likely to see a decrease in property taxes under reassessment.

School tax bills that will arrive in October cannot be set until school district tax levies are approved by voters in May.

The general tax bills cannot be calculated until municipal levies are set. Generally, Nassau and its three towns establish their levies in October or November.

“It seems as if the numbers are changing, and that these apparently are the best evidence they're going to have at this point," legislative Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said of the Curran administration.

"I think a lot of what they did was simply pure politics to force an early vote on this," said Nicolello. "They wanted this to be behind them, and we wanted to make sure we had all the information that we needed."

He argued that "the change in numbers I think justified or supported exactly what we did — try to get as much information as possible, and still leave enough time to act if the phase-in gets approved. They have plenty of time to get it into their tax bills that go out later this year."

Curran spokeswoman Christine Geed acknowledged the changing projections. But she said they were the "result of incorporating the latest school district levies and updates on these ever-changing variables,” such as property tax exemptions and successful tax challenges. 

The State Legislature authorized the reassessment phase-in last year, and Curran introduced required local legislation on April 30, and again this January after her original legislation had expired. Republicans declined all year to call Curran's bill.

The county's new projections for more than 385,000 residential property owners can be found online at: mynassauproperty.com.

NASSAU PROPERTY REASSESSMENT

Under County Executive Laura Curran's "Taxpayer Protection Plan," reassessment of 385,588 residential properties would be phased in over five years:

  • Tax bills for 205,166 properties, or 53.21%, are projected to rise.
  • Tax bills for 177,242 properties — 45.97% — are projected to fall.
  • Tax bills for 3,180 properties — 0.82% of the total — will see no change.
  • The median increase of tax bills, if Curran's phase-in plan is approved, is $485.01.
  • The median increase of tax bills, if Curran's phase-in plan is not approved, is $1,632.05.

SOURCE: NASSAU COUNTY EXECUTIVE

Latest Long Island News