MINEOLA, NY -- Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today signed an executive order requiring County Assessor David Moog to set the county’s levels of assessment for the January 2019 tentative assessment roll for tax year 2020/2021 to maximize assessment accuracy and integrity, enable the County to defend successfully against ratio challenges and avoid the need for mass settlements at the Assessment Review Commission (ARC) and payment of excessive refunds. Mr. Moog responded quickly to the County Executive’s direction.
“Today, County Assessor David Moog provided me with the levels of assessment for the tentative roll for tax year 2020/2021. Based on his professional responsibility and expertise, and the results of an expert analysis, he has set the new class one level of assessment at .1%,” said Curran. “County Assessor Moog has set the levels of assessment for property classes two, three and four at 1%.”
County Executive Curran stated, “the County needs a defensible assessment roll to stop the cycle of mass settlements and borrowing that has left an already cash-strapped County with over $700 million in cert debt. The prior administration left the County with a corrupted assessment roll from its eight-year degradation of property values. I am committed to developing a strong financial plan that eliminates debt to pay for future property tax refunds.”
Curran continues to encourage residents to make sure their property assessments are accurate. “Property owners will absolutely keep their right to grieve their assessments,” said Curran. “Property owners, however, shouldn’t have to file a claim to be treated fairly. That’s our job. A correct, defensible assessment roll accomplishes that goal.”
Under the prior administration, the County’s assessment roll was frozen for eight years. During that time, real estate values increased dramatically, creating a large discrepancy between the market values used by the County in determining assessments and actual market values. The combination of the frozen roll and mass settlements severely degraded the accuracy and integrity of assessments and shifted the tax burden disproportionately.
In March 2018, Curran signed an executive order to unfreeze the assessment roll and begin a reassessment of the more than 400,000 residential and commercial properties in the County. Curran originally agreed to a .25% class one level of assessment based on the assumption at the time that the roll would be defensible at that level. However, the detrimental impact of a stipulation entered into by the prior administration was not clear until County Assessor Moog recently completed his review of the preliminary data from the reassessment.
“The County Executive promised to fix the broken assessment system. Unfortunately, the stipulation signed in 2011--and extended in 2016--all but guaranteed that the County would not be able to defend against a ratio challenge were it to maintain the .25% class one level of assessment," said Moog.
The report, which was conducted by renowned assessment expert Robert J. Gloudemans, made it clear that that the County faced grave risks to the assessment roll unless the County moved to a .1% level of assessment. Moog stated, “there shouldn’t be a material difference in the level of assessment set by the Department of Assessment and the ratio utilized by ARC to resolve claims. The change will ensure a consistent level of assessment whether or not a resident completes the grievance process.”
County Executive Curran’s team will also draft State legislation that would transition over five-years any relative changes in class one tax burden that could otherwise result from the reassessment and a change in the level of assessment.
“We need taxpayer protections from the State and will seek help from our State representatives to protect our residents during this transition,” said Curran. “We look forward to working with the members of the Senate and Assembly on this important legislation.”
County Executive Curran is also seeking County legislative approval for a contract to utilize Prognose, a state-of-the art software program that will provide residents with a comprehensive understanding of their assessments. Residents would be able to access this web-based system from their home computers, smartphones and tablets.
“Prognose will help deliver a new, superior level of customer service in the Department of Assessment as part of the reassessment,” said Curran. “My 2019 budget begins to rebuild the Department of Assessment and ARC which were cut by the prior administration. With the use of Prognose, residents can finally gain insight into their property assessments. I am calling upon the County Legislature to approve the Prognose contract today. Property owners deserve full transparency and disclosure on the reassessment.”