Nassau residents on tax reassessment: ‘Where do I get that money?’
The prospect of higher taxes for more than half of Nassau residents was enough to bring hundreds of people to the legislative building in Mineola Wednesday night for what turned out to be a five-hour meeting on the county executive’s new tax reassessment plan.
Many residents complained that higher taxes, which amounts to thousands of dollars for some people, would result in making difficult choices including giving up doctor’s appointments, medicine, heat and food.
In September, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran acknowledged a smooth process was probably not in the cards when she announced changes to the way the county assesses properties -- and she was right. Joseph Mills says a $3,000 projected tax increase could push him out of his West Hempstead home.
The long line of anxious Nassau taxpayers searching for answers Wednesday snaked through the halls and corridors of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola. Many were willing to stand in the cold if it meant eventually getting their questions answered inside.
Residents and county legislators directed their questions toward the county assessor David Moog, some of them expressing anger.
The legislature's presiding officer, Republican Richard Nicolello, told Moog he believes the assessor and the county executive are rushing the process, leading to confusion and resulting in costly mistakes.
For his part, Moog answered all of the questions and told News 12 he stands by his department's work.
Republicans criticized Moog for failing to hold public forums on the changes. But Moog says assessment officials have already met individually with 4,000 residents at satellite offices. On Wednesday night, people were offered the chance to meet with the assessor's staff on site.
Officials estimated that more than 600 people attended the meeting.
Curran says she is simply fixing a broken assessment system and is asking the state for a five-year transitionary period to gradually phase in the tax increases.
One resident who was waiting on line asked a question to News 12 that many others had:
“Where do I get that money?”