Nassau County residents will soon receive a notice stating their property’s fair market value and tentative assessed value as determined by the county’s property reassessment, the first one in seven years.
What it won’t include is an estimate of the property’s tax impact after the assessment.
County Executive Laura Curran, the driving force behind the reassessment process, used a legal loophole to include as little information as possible in the disclosure that Nassau is required to send out by state law.
The move was criticized by members of both parties in the Nassau Legislature, including Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park).
“One of the most basic responsibilities of government is to tell residents what their taxes are,” Nicolello said in a statement. “The notices sent by the Assessor fail this basic responsibility. We will do all that we can to make sure the Administration provides taxpayers with the information they need to protect their rights.”
According to Nicolello, the notices are required by New York State law when there is a reassessment of properties. This notice is required to include old and new market values, old and new assessment and the impact on property taxes caused by the assessment.
There are two exceptions to this rule: New York City and Nassau County.
The city and the county fit under the definition of a “special taxing unit” that allows them to provide less information. The city and county must “at a minimum” disclose a property’s new tax value, the level of assessment being used and a tentative new assessment. The level of assessment is a percentage of the property’s market value that is used to calculate property taxes.
Last month, the Legislature passed a law demanding that the Curran Administration send out a second notice with all information required by the state. County Assessor David Moog testified last month that he would not have that data ready until the middle of November — after the election.
No members of the Nassau Legislature are up for re-election this fall, but the Democrats are trying to take control of the state Senate, and one of the major issues of the campaign has been high taxes.
If that was the plan, Nassau Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) said, it was not a smart one.
“People not knowing at all might be even worse than delaying it,” she said. “I know the assessment office is understaffed, and that happened under the previous administration. But if that was the plan, it’s not a good one.”
DeRiggi-Whitton held a tax workshop on Thursday where many residents expressed their frustration and confusion over what their property tax would look like. But she also did not have the answers.
“That was one of my hardest days as a legislator,” she said. “The [Curran] Administration should have slowed this process down… updating the tax rolls is the right thing to do, but this is the wrong way to do it.”
But a spokesman for the Curran Administration said they were always planning on sending out the second release, according to Newsday. He said a change in the level of assessment — from .25 percent to .1 percent — meant that the data wasn’t ready for the first release.
“We’re getting the information out there as soon as we get it,” Curran said.
Nicolello urged homeowners to call the County Assessor at 516-571-1500. DeRiggi-Whitton said that a satellite office will be set up in Christopher Morley Park on Nov. 1 and that residents can schedule an appointment there with the assessment office.
Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.