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Newsday readers sound off on reassessments

Newsday letters to the editor for Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, with Assessor David

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, with Assessor David Moog, signs legislation on Nov. 14, requiring notices be sent to homeowners estimating the tax impact of the county's property reassessments in Mineola. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

I agree that Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s reassessment was needed [“Riled by reassessments,” News, Dec. 8]. I understand that there will always be mistakes; assessment is not an exact science. And I agree that some people were being ripped off because they never grieved their taxes. So, this is the only way to help 48 percent of property owners who will see lower taxes.

However, the answer the county has come up with to not upset the underpayers is to hope the State Legislature will allow the adjustments to be gradually corrected over five years. So the only way to collect the same amount of money is to have the underpayers continue to underpay while the overpayers continue to overpay during that period. How dumb are our politicians? By the way, my taxes are estimated to rise by $3,500. I am not complaining — just crying and laughing at the same time.

Randy Perlmutter, Oceanside

According to the county’s estimate, the market value of our home is $1.077 million. Our home is 3,055 square feet on 0.27 acres. The real estate website Zillow estimates its current value as $964,872. However, the home next door is 3,379 square feet on 0.4 acres, was more recently renovated, and just sold in July for $1.01 million!

Thus, it is impossible for our smaller home on a smaller lot to have the inflated market value given to us by the county. The home on the other side of ours, only slightly smaller, has an estimated value on Zillow of $917,121.

Our property taxes are projected to increase from $17,196.27 to $23,253.36, a whopping 35 percent. We fear that if the county does not make the appropriate correction, as senior citizens, we will be forced to leave our home of 34 years!

How on Earth the assessor’s office comes to this inflated value without looking at comps from our neighbors is beyond comprehension.

Joel D. Reiter, Woodbury

Nassau County’s Nov. 1 notice said I could make an appointment so my reassessment could be reviewed. It said, “revisions to market value estimates will be made by the Dept. of Assessment if deemed appropriate.”

My home’s assessment is estimated to rise from $350,000 to $627,000, which seems too high. I printed out 12 comparable recent sales and houses for sale in my area, which generally showed assessments for $80,000 less (none more than $600,000), and took them to my Dec. 5 assessment-office meeting. A county representative said the comps on her computer were in line with mine. But she said the letter about revisions was wrong, and the meeting was for informational purposes only.

She said the reassessment work was done before July 1, the more recent information we both had was more relevant, and I could use it to grieve my taxes.

My question about the promised revisions was forwarded to her superiors. A few days later, I sent a message via the county website to Assessor David Moog. As of Tuesday this week, I’ve heard nothing. My meeting was a big waste of time.

I favor the reassessments, and if I have to pay more taxes, that is OK if the calculations are correct. County Executive Laura Curran, whom I voted for, should have taken more time to do the effort right to avoid the current well-deserved criticism. I was excited to see Curran lead us out of the corruption we saw with her predecessors, only to be let down by her staff’s ineptness.

Bob Grasso, Wantagh

It is disgraceful the way the reassessment of property values is being rolled out. To time it now on top of the new tax law by President Donald Trump and Congress is unfair and onerous. Laura Curran should have first received approval to spread the burden over five years before fully moving forward.

I believe the reassessment will make it that much more difficult to sell one’s residence in the near term, and will likely result in a steady decline in property values. It seems that the only winners are the law firms that receive commissions on successful property tax greivences. When will our government ever learn?

Ron Ziegler, Valley Stream

Most of the individuals who are complaining about their property tax increases were not complaining when they were paying much lower taxes based on successful past challenges. I haven’t seen anyone complaining about not being refunded any of the fees that they paid to tax-grievance firms (around 50 percent of the first year’s savings). The lawyers who provided these services are the biggest winners! They get to keep their fees even though their clients are now losing the future benefits of their work.

By bringing all homes to their true market value, challenging the taxes on them will be much more difficult, which is not great news for these lawyers, but a fair procedure for everyone in the long run.

John R. Volpe, East Meadow

It is no surprise that Nassau property owners are confused with Nassau’s assessment saga and the newly projected tax increases for many. Many taxpayers need to realize that the projected tax increases do not take into account additional annual tax hikes and higher fees enacted by villages, cities, special districts, schools, towns and Nassau County — none of which will be federally tax deductible beyond the $10,000 annual limit.

Maybe now more taxpayers will hold elected officials accountable for irresponsible spending. Politicians have historically found it easy to spend other people’s money. Homeowners should consider speaking up and holding lawmakers accountable, or consider getting an additional job or packing their bags.

John L. Minogue, Manhasset

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