Requests Legislature make corrections to law to allow for better accuracy and transparency
MINEOLA, NY—Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today took her latest step toward a fair and equitable assessment roll when she signed a local law mandating that the County provide tax impact notices to property owners in relation to their property reassessment. Curran is also requesting that the Legislature make technical changes to the law, correcting certain drafting errors. The County Executive had previously directed the County Assessor to prepare tax impact notices, so this law codifies what the administration had already been undertaking.
“I support providing tax impact information to County homeowners. Under my direction, the Department of Assessment is posting the relevant information on the County’s website and mailing it to each property owner by December 1, 2018,” said Curran. “Today, working with my colleagues in the Legislature, we have ensured transparency to the public. I did not create this mess, but I am committed to fixing it.”
County Executive Laura Curran began the year with the pledge to restore fairness and equity to the assessment roll. Under the current system, nearly half of the County’s taxpayers are paying more than their fair share, in effect subsiding the other half. Curran unfroze the assessment roll in March after an eight-year freeze implemented by the prior administration. Every parcel in the county was then reassessed, using a .10% level of assessment. New values are more accurate to current market value. The change in assessment will affect some residents’ tax bills resulting in the need for a true taxpayer protection plan
Curran is working with members of the New York State Senate and Assembly to secure her Taxpayer Protection Plan, which would transition any tax impact on residential properties over a span of at least five years.
“My proposed Taxpayer Protection Plan would transition the new assessments over at least five years for homeowners. This means that any increases and decreases in the tax burden resulting from the reassessment and change in the level of assessment would occur gradually over that time,” said Curran. “I believe at least five years of transition will give property owners the ability to adjust their home budgets to manage increases in taxes or enjoy the benefits of reduced property taxes. I will seek and welcome the County Legislature’s input on the proposed State legislation.”
“I did not break the assessment system, but I am fixing it,” said Curran. “As promised, my administration is sending tax impact information to property owners. We are committed to—and are providing—transparency and open government. The people deserve a fair and accurate Assessment Roll and I will deliver that. The legislation, as written, provides transparency but needs to be amended to fix some unfortunate drafting mistakes.”
The corrections include:
- Not requiring tax impact notices to include calculations for city and village taxes. This would not be appropriate or feasible because the County is not the assessing unit for city and village taxes, nor does it levy such taxes. The Department of Assessment does not maintain the assessment data and levy information that cities and assessing villages use to set assessments and levy taxes.
- Not requiring tax impact notices to include a comparison of actual taxes “for the prior year” to the hypothetical extension of such taxes using the new preliminary assessments. This would not be possible because the year prior to the 2020-2021 tentative assessment roll is 2019-2020; total actual taxes for such year will not be finalized until December 2019, well after the law’s deadline of November 15, 2018 for mailing notices. The law should refer to 2017-2018, the most recently completed roll.
- Clarifying the definition of “2019 Tentative Roll.” This provision is ambiguous. It could mean the 2018-2019 tentative assessment roll published in 2017, the 2019-2020 tentative assessment roll published in 2018 or the 2020-2021 tentative assessment roll to be published in 2019. While it appears in context to refer to the 2020-2021 tentative assessment roll, it is incumbent on the Legislature when drafting local laws to be clear and precise to avoid ambiguity. The tax impact notices refer to the 2020-2021 tentative assessment roll.