The Nassau County Legislature recently approved a local law, sponsored by Republican Legislators, which would provide residents of Nassau County the opportunity to vote on a public referendum that would determine whether an elected Nassau Assessor would replace the current appointed officer. Citing a host of errors that have plagued the reassessment process, along with a lack of public accountability that is attendant with an appointed assessor, Nassau Legislature Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello demanded that residents be given a greater voice in the reassessment process. Pending the approval of the County Executive, a public referendum will be placed on the ballot the November 5th ballot.
“Assessor Moog has only added chaos and confusion to County Executive Curran’s reassessment process that can only be summed up as a series of miscues, mistakes, and fumbles,” Legislator C. William Gaylor III said. “Nassau residents have been paying for his errors without any means to hold him accountable. Nassau residents deserve an Assessor, who will run a Department that is transparent and responsive. This legislation allows the public to decide whether Nassau will have an elected Assessor or keep the current politically appointed Assessor”
The current Nassau County Assessor, David Moog, is the hand-picked choice of County Executive Laura Curran. A Queens resident, Moog is not subject to the impacts of the reassessment project. Additionally, the Nassau Assessor has presided over a host of embarrassing errors, miscues and gaffs that have eroded confidence in a project that will boost property taxes for hundreds of thousands of Nassau County homeowners. Further, the reassessment has been shrouded in secrecy, including the refusal of the County Administration to release “the mathematical formula” used to determine the new property values that will directly determine how much property taxes will be paid by over 400,000 county homeowners.
A list of the errors that have beset the reassessment process and eroded the public’s confidence in the project include the following:
• Nassau’s County’ Assessor admitted to posting the wrong assessment roll in January of 2019, which included 18,400 errors in property tax assessments.
• 85,000 property tax assessments had to be reduced in January of 2019 due to errors.
• 60,000 property tax impact notices had to be corrected in November of 2018 because Assessor used preliminary home values instead of final values to calculate reassessment’s impact on taxes.
• 20,000 assessment disclosure notices had to be recalculated because the property tax assessment increases exceeded the state’s cap on maximum allowable assessment increases.
• It was discovered in February of 2019 that the incorrect tax grievance deadline appeared in over a dozen locations on the Assessment Department and the Assessment Review Commission websites.
• A December 2018 robo-call erroneously alarmed 400,000 Nassau senior citizens that they were in danger of losing their property tax exemptions.
• The Assessment Department’s January 2019 General tax roll was defective, resulting in veterans and senior citizens being overcharged on their tax bills.
• 20,000 Tax Impact Notices intended for homeowners were returned to the Assessment Department as undeliverable in late 2018.
• Newsday reported in December of 2018 that thousands upon thousands of homeowners did not receive their tax impact statements in a timely fashion.
Republican legislators indicated that an elected assessor would bring accountability directly to homeowners, the people who are directly impacted by reassessment. Neighbors have expressed frustration over the fact that the current assessor is only answerable to the Nassau County Executive, owing no accountability to the public.
“I am proud to give Nassau County residents a meaningful voice in choosing the person who determines how much they will pay in real property taxes.” Said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello “Nassau residents deserve an Assessor who is accountable and who will run a department that is transparent and responsive. This legislation allows the public to decide whether Nassau will have an elected Assessor or keep the current politically appointed assessor.”