Record number of Nassau homeowners receive property assessment reductions

Robert Pelaez
A record number of Nassau homeowners received reductions in their property assessments during the current 2021-22 tax year. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

A record number of Nassau County homeowners received property assessment reductions in the 2021-22 tax year, legislative officials announced on Monday.

According to statistics outlined by the Legislative Majority, more than 219,000 county homeowners out of the eligible 385,000 filed a property tax grievance during the current tax year. Out of the 219,780 homeowners who filed grievances, 109,606 or roughly 50 percent, of those homeowners accepted settlements that reduced their valuations, officials said.

In the previous tax year, statistics showed, more than 236,000 homeowners filed property assessment grievances, with 61,110, or roughly 26 percent, accepting settlements that reduced their valuations.

Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), who has been critical of the reassessment initiative, said the statistics reflect a failed attempt to properly value people’s properties.

“The report shows that the county has returned to a mass settlement program,” Nicolello said in a statement. “Combined with the assessment freeze the tax burden is once again being shifted to those who can least afford it. Nassau residents deserve better.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called for the reassessment of approximately 400,000 homes in 2018 after the county’s assessment roll had been frozen since 2008. 

During that period, thousands of residents filed grievances on the value of their homes, winning reduced assessments and shifting the tax burden onto others who did not challenge their assessments.

Statistics released by Curran in May 2019 estimated that 55 percent of Nassau County homeowners would see a decrease in their property taxes due to the reassessment, exemptions and a proposed five-year phase-in.

The Assessment Review Commission, which makes decisions on tax challenges, lowered a ratio to calculate assessments in October, allowing greater reductions to be offered to county homeowners, commission Chairwoman Robin Laveman told Newsday.

Laveman was appointed to the head of the commission after former county assessor David Moog stepped down from his post in January due to health concerns, county officials said.

Michael Fricchione, a Curran spokesman, spoke on the challenges that the new ratio has presented in a statement to Newsday.

“We can’t set a ratio that reflects the true … relationship between actual market values and the assessments set by the assessor,” Fricchione said in a statement to Newsday. “Tax representative firms have collectively been able to use this one-sided agreement to their benefit.”

Town of Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman, who is the Republican candidate running against Curran for her seat as county executive called the reassessment initiative “a sham” based on the record number of people who settled for reduced valuations during the current tax year.

“There is no clearer evidence that the County Executive’s tax reassessment is a sham than the roughly 50 percent of taxpayers who filed grievances were successful,” Blakeman said.  “Homeowners are overtaxed by Laura Curran’s reassessment and the evidence shows that those fighting back have a 50 percent chance [of] reducing their taxes due to unfair and incorrect assessments.  The system is a sham and I will fix it.”

Curran has long defended the reassessment phase-in and has told homeowners that it is the only way to fully rectify errors made dating back to former Republican County Executive Ed Mangano’s administration.

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