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Nassau corrects 60,000 tax notices online

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, left, chats with

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, left, chats with residential assessor Meris Davis at the Nassau County Department of Assessment Satellite Office in Roslyn on Wednesday. Credit: Barry Sloan

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s administration said Friday it had corrected 60,000 tax-impact notices posted on the county’s website because the assessor had used preliminary, rather than final, values when estimating reassessments' effects on property tax bills.

After being questioned by Newsday, County Assessor David Moog acknowledged he had amended the notices to reflect the “final full market values” for the 2017-18 tax years, which were used as a base for the tax bill estimates.

He said the original notices included tentative assessments that were reduced by successful tax challenges.

“I recognized the error and fixed it,” Moog said in a statement. “It is better taxpayer information to provide a final number, including reductions and settlements for 2017-2018.”

Some property owners had complained to Newsday that their online impact notices were amended without notice or explanation.

Moog said the error was corrected within 24 hours. “In no way did these changes impact the original calculations on the notices concerning hypothetical taxes,” he said in the statement.

Correction of the 60,000 tax impact notices came after 20,000 assessment disclosure notices were redone because Nassau had mistakenly increased assessments of those properties by more than the 6 percent allowed by state law.

Curran authorized a full reassessment of the county’s more than 400,000 residential and commercial properties soon after she took office in January. Disclosure notices were mailed by Nov. 1 and all tax impact statements were expected to be received by Saturday. The new assessments first will be used in the October 2020 school tax bills.

Moog said Friday that no tax impact notices had yet been mailed, but several residents said they already had received them. The county suggested they had printed their notices off the website.

Nassau County Legis. John Ferretti (R-Levittown), who has hosted seven tax-related forums, said, “I have had multiple constituents at my reassessment town hall meetings tell me that they have received tax impact notices in the mail and are concerned about their accuracy in light of the thousands of errors that have been reported. I can only tell you what my constituents tell me.”

Moog noted the county has not reassessed in 15 years, and said the impact notices help officials discover problems. “The interaction with our taxpayers and homeowners has been informative,” he said. “We welcome further feedback.”

Legislative Minority leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said he appreciated the fact that Moog had found and corrected the mistake so quickly.

“It appears that, because he was making every effort to expedite these notices to meet a deadline, an error was made that would have caused greater confusion," Abrahams said. "We must avoid confusing taxpayers at all costs and therefore use greater caution and slow down the process when necessary.”

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said, "Reassessment demands complete transparency. Unfortunately, this administration has repeatedly chosen to provide only limited information to taxpayers. We have been demanding for two months that the administration mail tax impact statements. The continuing failure to do so is inexcusable."

Hempstead Town Tax Receiver Don Clavin, a Republican who has called on Curran to hold community forums to explain the reassessment, said, “Without notification, without advising anybody, the county modified numbers without telling anybody why. Where’s the transparency. Where’s the openness?”

County spokesman Michael Martino said the county website was supposed to have an announcement about corrections being made but nothing had been posted by the end of business Friday.

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