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Nassau County posts tax impact notices

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran at the Theodore

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building on Feb. 7. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Nassau County officials said Monday they had published thousands of tax impact notices that project changes under reassessment for more than 383,000 properties.

County officials estimated that half of property owners will see their tax bills rise due to reassessment, while half will see their bills drop. The notices compare county, town, school, and special district tax bills between 2018-19 and projected values for 2020-21. Homeowners will receive the first tax bills calculated under reassessment in October 2020.

The tax notices are being published online as County Executive Laura Curran and the GOP-controlled Nassau Legislature battle over Curran's bill to spread out changes in the tax burden over five years. The measure, which effectively would delay both increases and decreases in changes in the tax burden, is stalled in the legislature.

The state approved the phase-in plan for Nassau in April, but the county legislature must pass a separate local law for the measure to take effect.

Majority Republican lawmakers have yet to call the bill for a hearing, and say they won't pass the legislation until they are assured the reassessment was conducted accurately. Republicans note they have until 2020 to pass what Curran has called the "The Taxpayer Protection Plan" for the phase-in to affect next year's tax bills. 

Republicans have criticized the Curran administration's handling of reassessment, saying the rollout was "error-riddled" and marred by the printing of incorrect values on the tentative assessment roll and on prior taxpayer impact statements that were published late last year. The errors were later corrected.

“Enough with the uncertainty, let’s get this passed so people know what their budget will be and what they have to do," Curran said in an interview Monday. "I'm concerned that delaying this even longer will put real uncertainty in our housing market. There are real possible consequences of this lollygagging and foot-dragging, and let’s not forget it's an election year for legislators, and I think they're [Republicans] trying to drag this out as long as possible and make people anxious for election time."

On Monday, Curran wrote to Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), legislative presiding officer, warning, "If you do not act to pass the Taxpayer Protection Plan, more than half of the property owners in Nassau County will see significant property tax increases. Further, it will negatively impact Nassau County's housing market."

Chris Boyle, a spokesman for majority Republican lawmakers, said in a statement: "This information should have been made available to the public months ago. We have filed legislation to require that tax impact statements are mailed to every Nassau County homeowner no later than October 15th. It is important that homeowners know the financial consequences of the County Executive’s back door tax hike."

He said Republicans have "every intention of passing a 5-year phase-in of property tax assessment changes … because the Administration has foreclosed any other option. However, we will not do so until we are able to say to our residents their assessments came from a fair and transparent process."

In her letter to Nicolello, Curran released data showing the percentage of taxpayers whose bills would rise or fall under reassessment. Under the phase-in, more than 50 percent of residents in each of 10 county legislative districts are projected to see tax increases under reassessment, while more than half of residents in eight legislative districts will see their taxes drop.

Curran said, “a lot of quality assurance went into” the publication of new notices.

“I had the staff work incredibly hard to get these as up to date and accurate as possible," Curran said. "With the latest information that we have now, this is as accurate as we can get."

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