Curran vetoes elected assessor law; Nicolello calls for override

Janelle Clausen
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced details of the county’s park revitalization plan on Tuesday, including $3 million worth of updates for Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran vetoed a law that would make the county assessor an elected position on Tuesday, suggesting the proposal would put the county assessment system and county finances at risk.

The assessor referendum bill passed in the Legislature by a 10-7 vote in April, with two of the legislative body’s members absent due to a holiday. All votes against were by Democrats, while all votes in favor were from Republicans.

Curran’s administration set out to unfreeze the assessment roll after taking office in 2018, before moving to reassess every parcel of land at a 0.10 percent level of assessment. The assessment rolls were frozen in 2011 by the Edward Mangano administration.

People who grieved their taxes, contending they had overpaid, ended up essentially subsidized by people who did not, Curran has previously said.

“I strongly oppose any effort to dismantle the progress we have made toward a more fair and equitable assessment roll and inject additional politics and bureaucracy into one of the most vital services that the County provides – property assessment,” Curran said.

Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) quickly called on legislators to override the executive’s veto, saying there have been several errors in the property reassessment process and a lack of transparency with residents.

Republicans called for the resignation of County Assessor David Moog in late January, citing errors in tens of thousands of tax impact notices.

“An elected assessor will give Nassau taxpayers greater accountability and transparency and will be responsive to the residents, unlike the appointed assessor,” Nicolello said. “Unfortunately, this county executive does not trust the people to make the decision. We do. Let the people decide.”

A supermajority – two-thirds – of legislators would need to vote in favor of the legislation to override the county executive’s veto. This means one Democrat from the seven-member minority caucus would need to defect.

“I am calling on members of the Minority to support the override to give the people the right to vote in a referendum as to whether Nassau should have an elected assessor,” Nicolello said.

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