With Nassau County having problems assessing its property values accurately, the Village of Great Neck has hired two consulting firms to serve as an advisor when the village conducts its own independent revaluation assessment this month for all of its properties.
“The village revaluation process, which we started about eight or nine months ago, is something my administration reviewed carefully and determined would be best for our property owners,” said Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman. “The goal of a successful revaluation is to have all properties valued fairly and consistently so that each property owner bears a fair share of our village real estate tax burden.”
When Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano took office on Jan. 1, he said fixing the county’s broken property tax assessment system was a top priority since it costs the average homeowner 10 percent more annually on their county property tax bill and has resulted in $1.2 billion in debt to the county. Nassau County’s assessment system generates over 100,000 tax grievances a year and over $100 million in refunds annually in residential and commercial tax refunds combined due to errors in the system.
On Oct. 22, Mangano fired former Nassau County assessor Ted Jankowski after town officials complained about receiving several errors in their school assessment roll, including Mangano’s offices in Garden City which was given a $1.3 million school tax bill even though county property is tax exempt.
Kreitzman said the village’s revaluation would reduce tax valuation challenges, which causes the village to spend a substantial amount of money to refund the taxes. The Village of Great Neck’s general taxes are less than 15 percent of the total tax burden, not including the village sewer tax that applies to about two-thirds of the village. Kreitzman said the revaluation will not increase the total village real estate taxes, but only distribute them more fairly.
At an Oct. 19 Village of Great Neck board of trustees meeting, the board adopted a state homestead law. This law created two different types of properties for tax purposes including a single- and multiple-family residential property and a separate tax for all commercial properties. Kreitzman said having two groups of tax properties will benefit residents because a successful commercial tax assessment reduction will only affect the commercial class.
The entire revaluation process will be reviewed by the Office of Real Property Tax Services, which is part of the state Department of Taxation and Finance.
Kreitzman said the goal of the revaluation is to preserve to the fullest extent permitted by law all levels of exemptions. He said the village will adjust some tax exemptions to preserve them at the same levels that the law permits including veterans’ exemptions. Other exemptions are based on a percentage of assessed value and do not require an adjustment.
In the beginning of the revaluation process, the village and its consultants went through files to collect data about property taxes. The village sent out mailings to every resident to verify whether the data the village had regarding the valuation process was accurate. Kreitzman said the village received 40 percent of the letters back, which he said is a fairly high number.
Residents will receive another letter at the end of October which will indicate the previous and proposed assessed value of each property. Residents will also see what the predicted change in tax, based on last year’s rate, will be for their property.
“Having accurate data is essential in determining fairly valued properties,” Village of Great Neck Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman said. “We encourage residents to carefully review the accuracy of the information we will be sending.”
Kreitzman said that any residents who have questions regarding the proposed value can schedule a meeting or call the village to correct the problem. The final assessment will be published on Feb. 1, 2011.
“Taxpayers will still have the opportunity to pursue tax reduction actions but it is anticipated that few assessments will prove to be incorrect,” Kreitzman said.
A public hearing will take place on Nov. 16 at 7:45 p.m. at village hall for people who have any questions about the law to adjust veterans’ exemptions to preserve them to the fullest extent permitted by law.