Taxpayers seeking to speak with someone in the county Department of Assessment are met with a website statement that inadequate staffing levels do not allow the department to handle a high volume of phone calls and are instead referred to an email that doesn’t work.
On the county’s frequently asked questions page for the Taxpayer Protection Plan, residents are instructed to send their questions to TPPQuestions@nassaucountyny.gov, an email that responds with a redirect notice that the address cannot be found.
Pheda Fischer of Port Washington has been trying to reach the county after being notified her taxes will increase by $11,000 if the five-year phase-in is implemented for the 2020-21 tax year, she said.
With the phase-in, her taxes are projected to be $31,000 next year and without the phase-in plan, they are projected to be $20,000, according to her tax impact statement.
“So, I am not being protected by this plan,” Fischer said.
When she became aware of the anomaly with her taxes, she said, she scrolled through the county’s website after not reaching anyone using the Department of Assessment’s main number.
She said she found the email referred to those who have questions, and after her July 31 email failed to send. Fischer still hasn’t directly spoken to anyone at the Department of Assessment, she said.
The only responses she has received are from legislators asking questions on her behalf or through information she has found on Facebook, she said.
The Taxpayer Protection Plan was proposed to help taxpayers who will see a rise in their property taxes by phasing-in increases or decreases over a five-year period. The plan was included in the state budget and requires ratification by the county Legislature in order to be implemented.
The Nassau County executive’s office did not return a request for comment on the email gap.
Last week, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran renewed calls for the Nassau County Legislature to authorize the plan, which she said has been delayed by the Republican majority in the Legislature.
Republican legislators have frequently contended that the plan does not need to be authorized until next year for it to go into effect in time for the next tax year and have said they were thoroughly reviewing the legislation.
Fischer said she has even reached out to the county executive’s office, which said her situation is one that the department should look into and that they would forward her information, which has proven futile.
She said that when she received her first tax impact statement in November, she went to the Department of Assessment with concerns of her home being overvalued. She said $400,000 was knocked off the value of her home, which was reflected in her June statement but accompanied by a tax increase.
Fischer said that in November when her home value was assessed at a higher price, her taxes were projected to be $18,000 without the phase-in and $16,000 with the phase-in.
“It’s so confusing,” she said.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has undertaken the first countywide reassessment in nearly a decade. The reassessment aims to make the county’s assessment roll more defendable in order to avoid issuing reductions to those who grieve their property taxes, Curran has said.
A study conducted by Newsday concluded the grievance practice “intended to reduce costs of tax refunds, had shifted about $2.2 billion in taxes from generally more affluent property owners who successfully appealed their property taxes over their values over seven years to generally less affluent owners who did not.”
An April analysis from the publication found the 2020-21 tentative assessment roll to be fair and accurate.