MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The massive property tax reassessment on Long Island earlier this year could force thousands of residents to pay thousands more in property taxes next year.
Now, several homeowners are teaming up with local lawmakers to make sure they aren’t caught off guard again, CBSN New York’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
Some members of Republican members of Nassau County’s Legislature contend the county’s property reassessment is arbitrary, secretive and violates state and federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.
Nassau’s GOP majority is proposing a bill of rights aimed at providing protections for taxpayers, in the controversial property assessment process.
“The reassessment was done in a rushed fashion. It has resulted in a massive amount of errors. It has resulted in confusion among the residents and a lack of faith in the process,” GOP presiding officer Richard Nicolello said.
The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” proposal unveiled Monday demands grievance results be sent promptly, with the exact amount homeowners will pay with the new assessed value.
“The public has a right to know how their taxes were determined. The Department of Assessment utilized models. They utilized formulas,” Legislator Laura Schaeffer said.
“The county executive no longer has the ability to change the level of assessment simply at whim,” another said.
“We have new data today which will give taxpayers a more fair and accurate position as to what those taxes will be,” another lawmaker said.
The Department of Assessment, the GOP majority said, must disclose the formula or algorithm by which the assessed property value is determined. Last spring, a group of Nassau homeowners sued for that information.
On the streets of Nassau County, homeowners seemed split about the idea of taxpayer assessment rights.
“I feel it should be more equitable,” one person said.
“Hopefully they understand what we’re saying and are listening to us,” another added.
However, proponents of overhauling Nassau’s antiquated assessment system, which has been frozen since 2010, claim Republicans are encouraging rage and fear in order to retain their majority come November.
“We are moving forward. We are on the road to fairness and accuracy,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “They were twiddling their thumbs for the better part of 10 years while the system broke and went into shambles.”
About half of Nassau’s 400,000 properties are going down next year. Several outside examinations performed by experts revealed, “The assessments are about as fair and accurate as can be achieved.”
“She said she was going to fix that old system and reassess everything, so I hope they are working on it,” one voter said of Curran.
Some political observers told CBS2 both parties should refrain from demonizing reassessment in an attempt to curry favor with voters, adding they should instead come together to fix the process and its five-year phase-in plan.