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Camping out

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, delivering his daily briefing

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, delivering his daily briefing from Albany on Tuesday, said the state needs to address multiple problems without blurring the lines: continuing to fight the COVID-19 virus, supporting protesters seeking reforms toward racial equality, and stopping the looting, especially in New York City. Credit: Office of NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

Daily Point

Almost happy campers

Attention campers: The governor announced on Tuesday that you can go to a summer program!

As stressed out parents cheer, some questions pop up. Can the campers use pools? What about getting food — must you bring your own or can camps provide meals? Is kickball permitted as long as you don’t touch the ball? Softball but no basketball? What about playing London Bridge Is Falling Down? And will you be able to take a bus to all this fun in the sun?

Camps are the latest economic and social activity to get the green light from Albany but as with other initiatives, such as outdoor dining, those bedeviling details remain unanswered.

Local officials and camp operators bursting with questions are being told specific guidance is coming from the state and The Point is told that those rules are under review right now and are likely to be released as soon as Wednesday.

As for sleepaway camps, still no word on that decision — today’s announcement was only for day programs. As for alfresco dining … that order is yet to be served.

—Rita Ciolli @RitaCiolli

Talking Point

Poll suggests CD1 race is tight as finish line nears

A new poll commissioned by Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming’s campaign suggests a tight race for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District. 

The poll of 640 individuals likely to vote in the June 23 Democratic primary found 28.89% for Fleming, 28.83% for Nancy Goroff, and 21.68% for Perry Gershon. 

Conducted last week by the Honan Strategy Group, the survey used automated calling software to reach landlines and had an overall margin of sampling error of 3.85%.  

Fleming entered the race after her top opponents and had raised and spent less than either of them as of March 31. Her poll shows a different field than internal Gershon polling data from the end of January, which found Gershon, the Democratic candidate for the district in 2018, with double Fleming’s support, and Stony Brook scientist Goroff hardly making a splash at 9%. 

Goroff’s campaign questioned the new Fleming poll’s accuracy given that it was done with robocalling, but Goroff's staff didn’t mind pointing out what it indicates about her numbers anyway. 

“We are excited that Nancy's message is resonating across the district,” said campaign manager Jacob Sarkozi. 

Fleming’s campaign defended the representative sampling done for the poll, and was also happy to celebrate what it found, and perhaps use the numbers to the campaign’s advantage. 

“BREAKING NEWS FROM TEAM FLEMING,” said a campaign text update. “Late polling in the race shows Bridget Fleming narrowly in the lead with less than 25 days left in the race but it’s neck and neck.”

“Can you chip in whatever you can afford right now to help us defend our lead?”

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

The perfect storm

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Final Point

Nassau tries for an appealing solution on grievances

Last year, during the 2019-2020 tax year, Nassau County saw about 9,000 people who’d filed residential property tax grievances take their case a step further, filing appeals with the Small Claims Assessment Review.

This year, the county is trying to defend its newly unfrozen and recalibrated roll for the first time in more than a decade. About 227,000 homeowners grieved, but the county only settled with 82,665 of them, leaving nearly 145,000 with the right to appeal to SCAR during a filing period that initially was set to run throughout the month of April.

Then came the coronavirus, and the almost complete closing of the state’s courts, a circumstance that did not change the county’s need to set final tax rolls by August 1.

The portal to file appeals finally opened on May 25, and will stay open for 30 days. In the first week, the portal received 8,689 appeals, about as many as Nassau got in the entire process last year.

So what now?

County officials say they are going to process the appeals as quickly as possible, and Nassau introduced a new mediation program that will allow it to settle many cases without court hearings. Whether that will help enough to settle most appeals before the rolls must be set is not yet clear.

County officials said in an interview Tuesday that Nassau managed to put 6,000 of the appeals that came in this week through its mediation process, coming up with offers for 20% to 30% of them. As for the rest, the county thought its assigned value was solid and no settlement offer was necessary. It was actually  Nassau County court administrators who  suggested to the county it develop a mediation system, part of a statewide push to streamline these kinds of adjudications.

Faced with so many appeals and such a time crunch, the mediation process could help  the county avoid paying a significant amount of refunds.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

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