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Letter: Nassau assessment must be reformed

The Nassau County Assessor's office in Mineola.

The Nassau County Assessor's office in Mineola. Credit: Charles Eckert

Former Nassau County Assessor Harvey Levinson is right on target with his op-ed ["Nassau's sleight of hand on taxes," Sept. 13]. Appeals by so many decrease their taxes at the expense of non-appealers. An 84.7 percent approval of appeals indicates a fatally flawed assessment system or some other underlying issue.

What makes more sense is the abolition of the county assessor position and turning assessments over to the towns. Towns are a lot closer to the nuances of their neighborhoods. Alternatively, the Palm Beach, Fla., process Levinson mentions is hard to dispute: using 85 percent of the selling price to set assessed value.

The county assessment, which was overhauled a few years ago under a court order, seems again to be out of line with reality. When assessments on million-dollar houses are successfully appealed, but the homes are sold for $1.2 million shortly thereafter, something is wrong with the assessment process, the appeals process, or both.

Both county executive candidates should take a hard look at this issue rather than talk about how they raised or didn't raise taxes. The result of the loss of tax base is higher taxes for all and an increased debt.

Peter Hayes, Sea Cliff

Editor's note: The writer is a Democrat and a Sea Cliff village trustee.

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