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Donald Clavin: Send new Nassau County tax impact statements

Hempstead Town Tax Receiver Donald Clavin calls on

Hempstead Town Tax Receiver Donald Clavin calls on Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to immediately mail tax impact statements during a news conference in his Hempstead office on Friday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Hempstead Town Tax Receiver Donald Clavin Friday called on Nassau to send new tax impact statements to the county’s more than 424,000 property owners to reflect changes and correct “misinformation” involving the reassessment authorized by County Executive Laura Curran.

Because the county acknowledged reducing 85,000 assessments by Jan. 2, when the county’s tentative assessment roll was released, Clavin said Nassau must tell property owners what impact those reductions could have on their tax bills.

Clavin, a Republican who has been critical of Democrat Curran’s handling of reassessment, also said Nassau needs to correct the March 1 tax grievance deadline included in notices mailed to residents. Curran already had announced an extension to April 30.

If Curran and the county assessor aren’t willing to mail new statements, “I’m also calling upon county legislators to do it legislatively,” Clavin said at a news conference in his office.

“People are utterly confused because of the amount of misinformation coming out of the assessor’s office. Let’s get everybody on the same page. This is step one. It has to be done,” Clavin said.

But Curran spokesman Christine Geed rejected Clavin’s requests, saying in a statement he “has no idea how the assessment process works. Clavin is only a tax collector! He’s not an assessor. He’s not a legislator. And, he does not know ANYTHING about assessment.”

Geed said putting out a new tax impact statement, “would cause unnecessary confusion to the taxpayer” because the new assessments will not be final until April 2020.

In boldface, she also wrote that county lawmakers “made us” use the March 1 deadline when they passed a local law last August requiring the notices of tentative assessment to be mailed.

Frank Moroney, spokesman for Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), responded, “The administration was advised on Jan. 2 that the legislature was going to extend the deadline to grieve to April 30. The assessor held onto those notices for an additional two weeks during which time the county executive announced that she would extend the time to grieve until April 30. The county did not do an insert or alter the letter before it was sent even though they had ample time to do it. This is another example of trying to shift the blame.”

William Biamonte, the legislative Democrats' chief of staff, said, “My belief is the county will handle the notification administratively,” referring to the grievance deadline change.

Biamonte added, “If the Republicans do legislation, they’re doing it to promote" Clavin’s possible candidacy for Hempstead Town supervisor.

Clavin, who is up for re-election this year, denied he is hosting forums and news conferences about reassessment because he is eyeing the supervisor's race this fall.

“I am doing this because residents are reaching out for help, looking for answers, and nobody from the administration is doing it,” he said.

Clavin also said nearly 400 residents who attended community forums he has hosted over the past two weeks told him they have not received the initial tax impact statements that were supposed to have been mailed by Nov. 15.

He said he has printed out the notices, which are on the county website, for those residents — mostly seniors — who do not have access to computers.

After saying during his news conference that reassessment “has been nothing but a rollout disaster, with error upon error,” Clavin responded to Geed’s criticism: “Nassau County taxpayers agree the only people who know nothing about assessment are the county executive and the assessor.”

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