North Shore hit hardest by reassessment

North Shore hit hardest by reassessment
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran held a press conference at a taxpayer's home to address residents concerns over reassessment. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s proposed reassessment has put county residents into two camps: those that will see their property taxes increase and those that will see a decrease.

Many homeowners who will see increases in their property taxes are on the North Shore.

Great Neck, Port Washington and Manhasset are three of the top five districts to be hit with the most property tax increases of $5,000 or more, according to a report by Newsday.

The report ranks Great Neck second with 910 increases expected over $5,000. Port Washington is fourth with 776, followed by Manhasset, which can expect 664 homes seeing such an increase.

Curran, at a news conference held at a taxpayer’s home in Baldwin on Tuesday, called it “the day of reckoning.” She said she is bringing equality to the tax rolls and protecting those who have been overpaying their share of taxes for a number of years.

Former County Executive Edward Mangano froze the tax rolls in 2011.

“I am changing a corrupted assessment system that was created and maintained by a corrupt administration,” she said.

Those who will see increases are typically those who have filed grievances about the tax assessments on their homes in the past, Jeffrey Gold, an attorney and former member of the Nassau County Board of Assessors, said.

When people grieve and win a reduced assessment, the county still needs to generate the same amount of money. That leaves other residents who have not grieved to pick up the bill.

Under the new reassessment plan, it is expected that 52 percent of county residents will see an increase and 48 percent will see a decrease, according to Newsday.

Among the people experiencing an increase, Port Washington resident Joel Katz said reassessment doubled his home’s designated market value, raising it from $394,400 to $875,500.

In the 2017-18 tax year, Katz paid $10,856 in property taxes. When the reassessment is expected to be used in the 2020-21 tax year, he will see his property taxes increase to $13,822.

Though the increase may not be as sudden.

Curran is seeking to push her Taxpayer Protection Program through the state Legislature to lessen the blow of tax increases by establishing a five-year transition period. If passed, Katz’ property taxes for 2020-21 would increase to $11,789.42.

While it will help those who are seeing an increase, it will lessen the decrease those that are overpaying will see.

Curran called on the Republican majority in the county Legislature to announce support for the transition program.

In a telephone interview, Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said that nothing has been proposed to the Republicans yet but they would be open to reviewing the details of anything that would lower the impact of the reassessment on residents.

Katz said he believes that his assessment is incorrect because assessors only inspect the outside of the home if they did that. Therefore they did not consider the underground water that runs below his house, which requires a sump pump to run 24/7 in his basement. He said he believes that would knock down the price of his home if he were to sell.

Assessors have determined market values by comparing the values of similar homes in the area.

Curran attributes worries over assessment inaccuracy to members of the Republican legislative majority.

She asked them to stop perpetuating a fiction over market values being wrong. She says the values have been confirmed by Zillow, an online real estate listing site, as well as real estate brokers.

“And the state Office of Real Property Tax Services will confirm them by the end of the year,” she added.

Nicollelo said the complaints were not coming from the Republicans, but from the residents. He added that if Curran had held more forums, she would know how the residents feel.

He said the most common complaint he has heard from residents was that “if my house is actually valued at what the county says it is, then I would sell it tomorrow.”

Gold, who also runs a Facebook page where members share their assessment anecdotes, encourages those who think there is a discrepancy with their assessment to file a grievance with the county. He said it will help tighten the tax roll to ensure that the newly assessed market values are correct.

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