Earlier this Summer, the Majority Caucus of the Nassau County Legislature introduced a number of bills meant to help improve fairness and transparency in the County Executive’s Assessment Process. After passing the full Legislature, the County Executive vetoed this common sense legislation on October 2nd.
Today, the Nassau County Legislature held a vote to override the County Executive’s veto on that Legislation, to make the County Executive's error riddled assessment process more fair and transparent. Unfortunately, the override failed by a party line vote of 10-8 (Legislator Kopel absent as he observes Sukkot), with the entire Democratic Minority Caucus siding with the County Executive and against fairness and transparency in the assessment process.
“While I am disappointed by the results of today’s vote, the Majority Caucus will continue to fight for the taxpayers of this Nassau County who are simply looking to understand the process and have their questions answered.,” Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello said. “While the County Executive and Minority Caucus fight against our common sense legislation that would have mandated the Department of Assessment answer the phone when constituents call among other things, we will continue to implement reforms that make this more fair and transparent for the residents of Nassau County.”
“The Democratic Minority has decided to stand with the County Executive and her error-filled reassessment process, rather than with the people of this County,” Legislator Bill Gaylor said. “The taxpayers have asked for these reforms, and the County Executive and now the Minority Caucus has put politics over people, voting down measures that would bring some fairness and transparency to this process. I will continue to fight for Nassau taxpayers who are still struggling to understand this reassessment and have their questions answered.”
The package of bills vetoed by the County Executive that failed to be overridden 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.