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Letter: Nassau County seems stuck in its property-tax system

These homes on Fortune Lane in Jericho, which

These homes on Fortune Lane in Jericho, which look similar but have tax bills that are significantly different, are an example of how Nassau County's tax assessment overhaul has shifted the burden from homeowners who successfully grieve their taxes onto those who don't (Newsday/Chris Ware, Arnold Miller, James Leo, Matt Cassella)

I’m a former member of the residential assessment review team for Nassau County. I was also the only non-professional on the team and had won many challenges on my own.

During the time that the team worked on the assessment problem, we provided the county with a list of recommendations and formulated the Nassau County Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. It was my understanding that this document would guide the county in providing a more transparent, functioning system — but that never seemed to happen.

I studied the operating procedure manuals of both the Department of Assessment and the Assessment Review Commission. Neither one seems to follow its own manual for evaluating properties and communicating findings to the public.

I am as dismayed and frustrated as most homeowners who have been victimized by this process. However, I believe that the tax-challenge firms provide a public service, under present circumstances [“Tax grievance windfall,” News, Feb. 6].

A tax bill is made up of two hypothetical numbers: the adjusted assessed value multiplied by the tax rate, which produces a very real number constituting the amount of tax owed. These two numbers are generated without transparency.

I believe the real problem is that the county is unable to do any better than it’s doing now. When I approached a ranking member of the county legislature about the shortcomings of the assessment process, I was told that they know a problem exists, but to collect the needed taxes to fulfill the ever-rising budget requirements, this system has become the only game in town.

Bob Orosz, Garden City

 

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