On the eve of the deadline for Nassau homeowners to file a property tax challenge, the website for Nassau County’s Assessment Review Commission (ARC) has been offline, and there was a service disruption at the Commission’s offices on a day prior to the April 30th due date. Due to the disruption – an Anthrax scare at another county department – public access to the Department of Assessment was restricted for a period of time on April 29th. What’s more, the ARC website to file grievances has been offline on several occasions both on April 29th and on the actual deadline day, April 30th.
These developments have prompted Nassau County Legislator John Ferretti and Hempstead Receiver Don Clavin to call for an extension in the property tax challenge filing period through Tuesday, May 7th. The officials said that it is unfair to penalize property owners who want to challenge their taxes because of the unfortunate incident at the county’s offices and because the tax grievance website was offline
“It is very unfortunate that county employees were victims of an Anthrax scare, and we are pleased that it appears that nobody has been injured or hurt by the incident,” said Ferretti. “At the same time, since there were service disruptions, I think that the responsible thing to do is to give homeowners an extension in the deadline to file their tax challenges. After all, the office closure and the website being offline is totally beyond the control of residents.”
ARC’s offices are charged with independently reviewing the tax certiorari or property tax assessment grievance applications filed by Nassau property owners. Homeowners have been understandably apprehensive as the Nassau County Executive has rolled out her signature countywide reassessment project. Indeed, the initiative has been beset by errors and secrecy. In fact, a homeowner has recently sued the County Executive and the County Assessor for refusing to disclose the “secret formula” (mathematical equations) used to determine property owners’ assessments and taxes under the new reassessment.
As a result, Clavin and property tax professionals have advised homeowners that it is more important than ever to challenge their property taxes in order to preserve their property rights in the event of unforeseen errors, mistakes or simple over assessment. Clavin has implored homeowners to challenge assessments as the filing deadline looms. Now that the services were disrupted at ARC’s offices and its website is not functional, Clavin said the Nassau County should be responsive to affected taxpayers.
“I am relieved that the Anthrax scare appears to have not affected employees and visitors to the Assessment Review Commission’s offices,” said Clavin. And, I am happy that the website was back online on Tuesday morning. At the same time, residents were frustrated by a non-operational tax grievance website, as well as service disruptions at the tax grievance office. Therefore, I am asking the Nassau County Executive to ‘do the right thing’ and extend the deadline for filing property tax challenges through Tuesday, May 7th.”