Ensuring Nassau County operates in a fiscally responsible manner has been a key focus of mine since becoming a Legislator in 2012. I strongly believe that taxing property owners fairly and ensuring their tax dollars are appropriated responsibly are the two most important duties legislators can perform.
As far as how the recent tax assessment change was implemented, I must admit that I am less than pleased. The roll was frozen for eight years under the prior administration and I appreciate County Executive Curran’s efforts to fix a broken tax assessment system that costs the County well over $50 million per year. With that said, I have concerns about the assessment process that need to be addressed so every property owner is paying his or her fair share of taxes.
The assessment process is only as good as its roll of properties and their respective fair-market values in Nassau County. While I voted to allow the County to pay approximately $6 million to bring in outside contractors to complete a new roll, I did so with the understanding that it was to be a thorough process that assessed each house individually. Unfortunately, the home values on the new roll appear to be based largely on the neighborhood where the property is located rather than an individual assessment of the property’s characteristics. I truly hope that the revised roll currently being developed is closely examined before assessments are finalized.
Since the current state of the assessment situation is subject to change daily, my best advice at this juncture for homeowners who feel their homes have been improperly assessed is to grieve. Whether completing a hard copy or submitting digitally, the application form is easy to fill out and is free. Visit https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/1516/Forms-Instructions to access the forms. The deadline to file a grievance is April 30.
While we continue to navigate the reassessment, I am also taking steps that will improve transparency and oversight of County contracts. Previously, County law did not explicitly require outside vendor contracts to contain a maximum sum to be paid by the taxpayers under an agreement. To properly oversee County finances, the Legislature must know how much the public may have to spend on each request. Clearly, it is critical to have control of a contract ceiling. I’m proud to inform you that legislation I introduced requiring a maximum limit for each contract recently passed unanimously.
I will remain diligent in my efforts to ensure you are not paying more than your fair share of taxes and that your money is being spent wisely.