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Laura Curran signs law requiring tax-impact notices for reassessments

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran discusses the new

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran discusses the new assessment notice law in Mineola in November. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Wednesday signed a local law that requires the county to send out notices estimating the tax impact of the county’s new reassessment to all property owners by Thursday.

The tax impact information will reach property owners by Dec. 1 and be posted on the county website by then, Curran said at a news conference. Her spokesman, Michael Martino, said Wednesday, “the calculations are not complete.”

Curran also asked the Nassau County Legislature to make some technical corrections to the law, which was approved unanimously last month. The corrections involve clarifying dates in the law while eliminating tax estimates for cities or villages that use their own assessments.

The Republican-led county legislature had demanded the tax-impact statements after learning that Nassau’s recently mailed disclosure notices about the reassessment did not show how the changes would affect property owners' tax bills.

The disclosure notices, required by law after a reassessment, listed the new market value, but not the old market value; the new assessment, but not the old assessment; and the new level of assessment, which is the new fraction of market value used to calculate taxes, but not the old level of assessment.

Curran said she always had planned a second mailing, estimated to cost $250,000, that estimates the change in taxes, assuming tax levies and rates remain the same.

The former Republican administration of Edward Mangano had begun a systematic review of county assessments last year — six years after Mangano froze assessment increases while his administration granted thousands of reductions to homeowners who grieved their values.

A Newsday study found the practice, intended to reduce the cost of tax refunds, had shifted about $2.2 billion in taxes from generally more affluent property owners who successfully appealed over their values over seven years to generally less affluent owners who did not.

Curran authorized a full reassessment after she took office in January as a way, she said, to restore fairness and equity to the system.

”Today, working with my colleagues in the legislature, we have ensured transparency to the public,” Curran said Wednesday in her release. “I did not create this mess but I am committed to fixing it.”

Curran also said she will ask the newly elected Democrat-controlled State Legislature to allow the new values to be phased in over at least five years, to prevent sudden spikes in tax bills for homeowners whose properties were far below fair market value.

County assessor David Moog has said the tax impact statements will include the effect of a state approved phase-in as well as the impact of no phase-in.

The Nassau legislature's Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said Democrats “will continue to support measures that protect taxpayers and ensure the reassessment process is completed in a transparent and responsible manner."

Abrahams also called action by the State Legislature "an essential component of correcting Nassau County’s broken assessment system, which the previous administration left in shambles.”

The county legislature's Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said, “Now that the county executive has finally signed our law mandating that the administration send tax impact notices, these notices must go out now. Our residents are deeply concerned about the County Executive’s reassessment plan. Taxpayers have a right to know how their taxes will be affected by the new assessed values.”

 By law, Wednesday was the last day for the county executive to sign or veto the legislation.


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