Tax receivers charge county with senior abatement miscalculation

Jessica Parks
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

Fingers continue to be pointed when it comes to whether eligible seniors’ taxes were properly calculated by Nassau County to include an abatement on their sewer and stormwater tax.

Three town tax receivers said last week that county officials omitted senior abatement information from assessment data amounting to overcharges of $300,000.

But Town of North Hempstead Tax Receiver Charles Berman, a Democrat, said he met with the county treasurer last Thursday and now believes the tax warrant from the county is accurate.

Town of Hempstead Tax Receiver Donald Clavin and Town of Oyster Bay Tax Receiver James Stefanich, both Republicans, still hold firm that there is an inaccuracy despite comments from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran saying the allegations are false.

Efforts to reach Neither Clavin nor Berman were unavailing.

“I am astonished and disgusted by the seemingly endless string of errors on the part of Nassau County’s Administration, which are victimizing innocent taxpayers,” Clavin said in a press release. “Deserving veterans and senior citizens, many of whom are living on fixed incomes, are getting slammed by the endless string of errors on the part of the Nassau County Assessor.”

Senior abatements were approved in order to subsidize seniors when there was a 19.3 percent tax increase in 2002. Seniors who receive the enhanced STAR tax exemption are eligible for the abatement on sewer and stormwater taxes.

In a press release, Curran said seniors who are eligible for enhanced STAR exemptions are identified by the state. The county then provides the town tax receivers with the correct abatement information to include in the tax bills of qualifying seniors.

She said the county has requested that each town provide them with a list of seniors who did not receive the tax benefit to which she has not received anything in return.

She called a report in Newsday in which the tax receivers’ allegations were made “inaccurate and irresponsible news reporting.”

Clavin said this is not the first time Nassau County’s Administration has “dropped the ball.” He said in 2018 error 32,000 village residents were overcharged on their sewer tax, which the county must cover, and a robocall that made to 400,000 residents incorrectly said they were at risk of losing their senior citizen property tax exemption. The call should have only gone to about 3,500 residents.

Clavin said a number of Cold War veterans also did not receive their property tax exemption, which Curran attributed to a computer processing error.

Curran said that some seniors receive both the Cold War exemption and the senior abatement and that they are looking into whether the error had any effect on the abatement.

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