Without a doubt, the most exciting, comforting and positive development from the first few weeks of this new year has been the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.
Having lived through a once-in-a-century pandemic that has already been responsible for the deaths of more than 400,000 of our fellow Americans, envisioning the end of this painful experience is a truly welcome sight on the horizon. My office will continue to provide updates and helpful information as you navigate the process of obtaining vaccination appointments.
At the start of the year, our attention also turns to a perennial issue – real estate taxes. As I have done each year since becoming a Legislator, I will be hosting a series of free workshops where you can learn from experts how to grieve your taxes. The only difference is that, because of COVID-19, we are conducting them virtually. Visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/LD16 for the date and time of our next workshop. While outside experts have affirmed the high level of accuracy of Nassau County’s recent reassessment, you will always have the right to grieve your taxes if you believe your assessed value is incorrect; as of this writing, you have until April 30, 2021 to do so. Visit https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/arc for the latest updates.
Restoring the integrity of the county’s assessment system after years of willful neglect has proven to be a daunting task, and the work is ongoing. I have been following very closely the progress of proposed state legislation, which I was involved in drafting, that would amend New York State’s Real Property Tax law to change the way new construction, condominiums, and substantially renovated or improved homes are taxed in Nassau County.
This law would also ensure that the changes in assessed value for these types of properties are phased in – just like other homes under Nassau County’s Taxpayer Protection Plan.
As we continue to tackle those pressing issues, we are simultaneously embarking upon police reform in Nassau County, which in 2019 was named the safest county of its size in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
As mandated by Gov. Cuomo’s executive order, all police departments must submit a package of reforms to address and ameliorate racial inequity and implicit bias wherever it may exist throughout our state and communities.
Following a state-mandated collaborative effort with community leaders and stakeholders, the County Executive has put forth a draft of proposed reforms. This will necessitate public hearings in order to allow for your input.
The Legislature must then review and advise upon the first version before approving or rejecting the final proposal that comes before us. We are faced with an extremely important task, as these reforms will become standard operating procedure for law enforcement here in Nassau County. Visit https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/EO203 to review the draft plan and submit your feedback.
It may seem as if we have a lot on our plate as we start 2021. We do – and this is just the beginning. However, in my fifth year as a Legislator, I cherish the honor and privilege of representing this community more than ever, and I welcome the task of always protecting and advocating for my constituents and Nassau County residents. I will keep you advised every step of the way.
Let’s hope that 2021 is the harbinger of a new and improved world characterized by peace, unity, kindness and a renewed brotherhood and sisterhood that Dr. Martin Luther King, whose birthday we celebrated earlier this month, envisioned almost 60 years ago.
Happy New Year, everyone. Please be safe and healthy as we continue to navigate this catastrophic pandemic as best we can.
Arnold W. Drucker, of Plainview, was first elected to the Nassau County Legislature in 2016. He represents the 16th Legislative District in the Nassau County Legislature.