Friday, April 01, 2005

The "Special" Taxing Districts

We all cringe when that tax notice arrives in the mail, but have you taken a closer look at who is taxing you and what the increases have been? More than this, do you realize that you may be paying more for services such as sanitation, fire protection and water than your neighbors across town - and in some cases, more than your neighbor across the street?
Nassau County Assessor of Taxes, Harvey B. Levinson, examines the financial impact of so-called invisible taxing jurisdictions, and debunks the myth that the Town of Hempstead has been "holding the line on taxes."

"While some of these special taxing districts or invisible governments have existed since the 1930s," exclaimed Mr. Levinson, "the so-called Commissioner-operated fire, water and sanitary (garbage collection) districts are now collecting some of the biggest tax dollars with little or no oversight." A look at the 2005 Town tax bill of a West Hempstead home, for example, with a market value of $346,900 gives credence to Mr. Levinson's call for increased scrutiny, consolidation and, in some instances, the elimination of these special taxing jurisdictions.

While Town General taxes increased from 2004 by some 8.21% (enough of a burden), Town Highway went up $15.94%; Town Building & Zoning increased by 16.73%; Town Lighting by 14.65%; Town Park by 14%; West Hempstead Public Parking by 1.09% and Town Refuse Disposal by a whopping 18.77%.

Add to this already onerous tax burden (it hurts just to write it) "Special District" taxes for Sanitary District # 6, up 17.27%; West Hempstead-Hempstead Gardens Water District, up 3.41% (even more if you live in Cathedral Gardens); and West Hempstead Fire District, up 10.56%.

Assessor Levinson asserts, and the numbers bear him out, that "if a home in West Hempstead was not in Sanitary District # 6, and its garbage was picked-up by the Town of Hempstead Refuse and Garbage District (for which residents are also taxed), the taxes on this hypothetical home would be reduced from $656 to $308 - a reduction of 53%."---Statistics courtesy of the Office of the Nassau County Assessor.

Learn more about the financial impact of "Invisible Taxing Jurisdictions" by logging on to

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