The Republican Majority Caucus of the Nassau County Legislature passed a series of reforms last week that would give the county executive less power over the assessment system. However, County Executive Laura Curran earlier this week vetoed the package, which goes back to the legislature for a potential veto override. The bill had passed along party lines, 11 to 8.
“This flurry of useless legislation is more of the same: politics first, taxpayers last,” said Curran. “It is not meant to offer real solutions or relief. It’s meant to mislead taxpayers and distract from their decade of doing nothing. I urge the Republican majority to take real action and pass my Taxpayer Protection Plan, a plan that will actually protect taxpayers while we continue to fix the damage caused by the Mangano Administration. The majority needs to stop wasting time and fearmongering during an election year.”
The package included measures that limited the involvement of County Executive Laura Curran in the assessment and specifically targeted current assessor David Moog. If signed into law, it would require Moog, a Queens resident, to live in Nassau County. The laws also would require the Department of Assessment (DoA) to have a live person answering the phone during work hours to answer any questions, require the assessor to hold hearings in every town explaining the assessment process and prevent inspectors of the department from evaluating portions of properties that would not be subject to a tax challenge.
“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,” said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello. “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.”
Legislator Arnold Drucker, who represents Plainview, voted against the bills and emphatically stated that this was just a political move by the Republicans to help them look good before the election.
“It was nothing but window dressing and political posturing on their part,” said Drucker. “Any shot they can take at the county executive, they will take. These laws are just ridiculous. It has no substance or beneficial effect on the taxpayers.”
Early in September, Curran signed the first two bills included in the package, including a bill that requested the (DoA) to release the algorithm used to calculate property values and a bill that requires that the county send residents written notices of the county’s responses to tax grievances.