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Letter: Sifting Nassau County’s assessment mess

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signs an executive

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signs an executive order on property assessment with new county Assessor David Moog on Sept. 26 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has done the right thing by lowering the level of assessment on residential homes from one-quarter to one-tenth of 1 percent. It’s the only way to restore fairness to county assessments because of the mess created by the Mangano administration [“Assessment fix won’t be painless,” Editorial, Oct. 1].

In effect, Curran is doing what a state Supreme Court justice did in the 1990s to bring equity to homeowners who thought they were being assessed unfairly — and not violate state law that won’t allow an assessment to rise more than 6 percent a year.

Without doing this, many would continue to pay much less than their fair share of taxes, shifting the burden to those who pay more than is fair.

The headline “Assessment cuts could hike Nassau taxes” on a Sept. 27 news story was misleading. A reassessment would not hike taxes for everyone. When a reassessment is done, typically one-third of homeowners will see a hike in taxes, the taxes of one-third will stay the same, and those of one-third will be decreased. This is what happened in the first reassessment in 2004.

I don’t think the state should pass legislation to phase in the increases in assessment over five years. The best way is to immediately revalue all properties so everyone pays his or her fair share.

Thomas Albanese, Valley Stream

Editor’s note: The writer worked full time for the county Department of Assessment from 2001 to 2014, and now is a part-time member of the staff.

I think the entire property tax system needs to be revamped to be more simple. It is unfair to tax people based on the value of their land and home. For example, a person could have bought a house for $50,000 35 years ago, and somehow it’s now worth $750,000, and he struggles to maintain it, drives a 10-year-old car and is widowed on a single fixed income. Yet he could be paying more property and school taxes than a family across the street that bought its house in recent years for $400,000, has four children and three cars valued at more than $200,000.

At least 50 percent of our property tax should be at a fixed level that every house should pay. The rest of the tax could be based on the number of residents, income, assets such as boats and cars, and the size of the house and land itself.

Ray Nella, Massapequa

I read “Assessment fix won’t be painless,” and what Newsday does not seem to understand is that County Executive Laura Curran does not appear to understand the ramifications of what she is trying to do. Nassau residents will be in an uproar when they see their new valuations.

This is not a quick and easy fix. This new assessment roll and related equalization rate are probably going to turn into another fiasco and a bonanza for the tax-grievance firms, and they are probably salivating.

Dave Beldner, East Rockaway