Earlier this summer, Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and the Majority Caucus of the Nassau County Legislature introduced their “Assessment Bill of Rights”; a package of bills that were put forward after hearing taxpayer concerns over the County Executive’s error riddled reassessment process. These commonsense bills would have made assessment far more fair and transparent.
At the September 23rd meeting of the full legislature, all six bills in the Assessment Bill of Rights passed on a party-line votes, with the minority caucus voting against the measures.
Upon the veto by the County Executive, Presiding Officer Nicolello offered the following:
“Today the County Executive chose to put politics over policy by choosing to veto common sense legislation that would make the reassessment process more fair and transparent. After hearing resident's concerns at multiple open town hall meetings, these bills were designed to ease the burden on taxpayers who are simply trying to understand the reassessment process and have their questions answered. This majority will continue to listen to and fight for Nassau homeowners who have been caught up in this error riddled process. We plan to announce a veto override vote as soon as possible.”
This package of bills vetoed by the County Executive include:
1) Legislation forcing the Administration to send out new tax impact notices so that residents know exactly what they will pay with the new assessed values and the proposed five-year phase in.
2) Restrictions on unnecessarily intrusive property inspections by the Department of Assessment. When a resident contacts the county about an error in the records regarding their home, the Department of Assessment will no longer be able to condition an inspection of the specific characteristic at issue upon the homeowner’s consent to a full inspection of the entire house.
3) A limit on the ability of the County Executive to change the level of assessment. County Executives have repeatedly manipulated this fraction to avoid the New York State cap on assessment increases.
4) Legislation requiring the County Assessor to hold multiple hearings throughout the county, including, one in each town and city, to answer questions from residents. Up until the present, the County Assessor has refused to hold town hall forums to answer the residents’ concerns and questions.
5) A law requiring the County Assessor reside in Nassau County. This legislation is a reaction to the current Assessor, David Moog, who does not live within the County, and does not feel the effects of his decisions. This law will take effect on July 1, 2020 or upon the vacancy of the office by the current Assessor.
6) A law requiring the Department of Assessment dedicate a phone line for people to call in with questions or concerns, which phone line must have a live person answering the phone between the hours of 9 AM and 4:45 PM on days the county is open. Further, the Department must prepare a procedure for documenting the residents who call in.