Town of Hempstead, Nassau County clash over alleged tax roll errors

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Nassau County Assessor David Moog allegedly told Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin that 12,000 errors were made on county tax rolls for this year. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Officials from the Town of Hempstead called upon Nassau County Assessor David Moog to rectify an alleged 12,000 errors in tax rolls to be provided soon to local governments, but County Executive Laura Curran called the action “phony politics.”

Clavin said Moog acknowledged that there were 12,000 errors during a Monday conference call involving Moog, Clavin and the office of Jeanine Driscoll, the town’s receiver of taxes.  Of the 12,000 alleged errors, 6,000 affect Town of Hempstead taxpayers, officials said.

“Nassau County’s assessor is knowingly and willingly asking local receivers of taxes to send out 12,000 tax bills that contain the wrong amount of taxes because he cannot do his job correctly,” Clavin said. “Adding insult to injury, the thousands of homeowners who will overpay their taxes will have to wait up to a year for the Nassau administration to refund the overcharges. It’s outrageous.”

Roughly 2.7 percent of Nassau County homes would be affected by the alleged errors Clavin outlined, according to census data.

Clavin said the county has received 88,000 small claims assessment review lawsuits and proceedings that claim Moog over-assessed residential homes and other properties.  Moog did not mention the number of suits and proceedings that remain unresolved, according to Clavin.

Efforts to reach Moog or a representative from the county’s Office of Assessment for comment were unavailing.

Moog finalized the 2020-21 assessment roll in April. Of the 227,475 residential grievances filed on the 2020-21 tentative assessment roll, the commission made 60,760 reductions of class one properties, according to officials.  Last year, officials said, 175,067 residential reductions were made.

“I am proud of the remarkable progress we’ve made to overhaul the broken assessment system, despite the many obstacles we faced,” Moog said in April. “I thank the county executive for prioritizing our department and providing us with the resources needed to accomplish the reassessment and ultimately produce one of the most accurate assessment rolls in the state.”

Driscoll was more critical of the reassessment results.  She and Clavin said the county should cover the cost of refunds for tax grievances in a month rather than a year later, which is what the county typically does.

“Virtually the only job of the Nassau assessor is to generate an accurate tax roll, which ensures that homeowners are charged the proper amount of taxes,” Driscoll said. “If he can’t get that right, I think it is time for Nassau’s administration to re-examine the work of the assessor and make necessary changes to ensure an accurate tax roll.”

In response, Curran said: “This is just another batch of deceitful misinformation aimed to scare and mislead our residents. Our residents deserve better than the same old phony politics. So for the supervisor and for the receiver of taxes to politicize the pandemic in this way is irresponsible and it’s embarrassing for them.”

Curran was also critical of the lack of action the town had taken with the $133 million Hempstead received in federal funding due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would like to remind everyone, meanwhile, that the Town of Hempstead is sitting on $100 million of federal money in pandemic relief funds, which they have no clear plan in how to spend,” Curran said.

Curran said the town has refused to discuss potentially providing the county a certain percentage of federal funds to help support the county’s first responders and Health Department.  The county received $103 million in federal aid.

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