Republican county legislators call for elected assessor

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Republican Nassau County Legislators filed a local law on Monday to establish a referendum for an elected assessor. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

The 12 Republicans of the Nassau County Legislature proposed Monday a referendum on whether or not to make the county assessor an elected position rather than an appointee of the county executive as is currently the law.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said at a press conference that county residents should have the opportunity to decide if they would like to replace Nassau County Assessor David Moog.

Residents would vote on the referendum during the upcoming election in November under the Republican legislators’ plan.

If the referendum passes then the assessor will be an elected position in the 2021 election. The candidate would run for a four-year term and will be on the ballot with candidates for other countywide positions.

The law would need to be signed into law by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. If she were to veto the GOP legislation, the bill would require a supermajority of 13 votes to pass. That would require one of seven Democratic legislators to join the Republican caucus.

The assessor post was changed from an elected position to an appointed one after a countywide referendum in 2008 when U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) was the county executive.

“Laura Curran’s assessor, David Moog, is only answerable to the county executive and has zero-accountability to our residents,” Nicolello said. “Accordingly, the Republican members of the county Legislature are calling for the position of an elected assessor to be presented to Nassau’s voters for consideration in order to restore trust, transparency and accountability to the assessor’s office.”

He said the reassessment process has been riddled with errors and Nassau homeowners is paying the price for those mistakes.

Nicolello said that just last week it was disclosed that 80 positions for the Department of Assessment were allocated for in the county budget.

“These positions remain unfilled,” he said.

An elected assessor would be in charge of the office’s budget and would fill those positions if they need to, Nicolello said.

Hempstead Tax Receiver Don Clavin, who announced his bid for Hempstead Town Supervisor last month, said that Curran claimed she was going to fix Nassau’s assessment but cannot even fix the broken assessment department.

“We need an elected assessor, one who will be accountable to the public, not one who covers-up blunders for the county executive,” he said.

Some of the mistakes that the officials pointed out were the posting of the wrong assessment roll in January and a December robocall error in which 400,000 Nassau seniors were worried they were at risk of losing their property tax exemptions.

The bill was filed on Monday and will be in front of the legislative committees in April with a full vote from the Nassau County Legislature expected later that month.

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