. . .Throwing Money in the Garbage!"
So says the latest Murraygram to arrive in the mail, once again spinning the Murray-Mail-Meter* faster than the tote board on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.
At least the third such Property Tax "Guide" to have been posted by the Town of Hempstead in 2005 under the guise of "public service," the four page color brochure tells it as only the Townies can: "Hempstead Town does NOT set your assessment!...But we can help you lower your taxes and save!"
No, the Town does not set the Assesment. It does, however, set the tax rates, which ultimately determine how much taxes you will pay to the Town and its multitude of taxing sub-divisions. Of course, nowhere in the Murraygram are the words "tax rates" so much as mentioned.
The Town Supervisor encourages residents to contact the Nassau County Department of Assessment (516-571-1500) to obtain applications for property tax exemptions. Good idea. And while folks are on the line with the County Assessor's office, they should ask for information on who sets those all-important tax rates for TOWN Highways, TOWN Building & Zoning, TOWN Lighting, TOWN Parks, TOWN Public Parking, TOWN Refuse Disposal, among other TOWN taxing jurisdictions. [HINT: These tax rates are NOT set by the COUNTY or the ASSESSOR!] Then ask who sets the tax rates for the TOWN Sanitary Districts, and the other SPECIAL taxing jusirsdictions - staffed by the TOWN, run by the TOWN, and over which the TOWN Supervisor claims she has no control.
Odd, isn't it, how the Town is constantly telling us about things over which they have or allege to have absolutely no control, while the Town Supervisor pledges to propose a 2006 budget that freezes ALL TOWN TAXES - with an asterisk denoting that the "freeze" will apply to "all Town taxes under the Supervisor's control."
The problem is we have a Town government that is out of control. A local government bloated with high-paying patronage jobs, outmoded Special Districts, and seemingly no desire to take back control over essential services ostensibly provided by the Town of Hempstead, or at least held out to the public under the Town's name and seal.
"Control," in terms of impact upon our quality of life, appears to be outside the realm of the Town Supervisor. Whether we are talking about reviving our "Downtowns," eliminating illegal accessory apartments, or simply picking up the trash, the price homeowners pay for this lack of control is far greater than even that which appears on the bottom line of our property tax bills.
Kate Murray is right about one thing: "Paying more than your fair share of property taxes is like throwing money in the garbage." Those of us who live in one of the Town of Hempstead's Sanitary Districts can certainly attest to that!
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*For the period of May 1, 2005 to August 29, 2005, the Murray-Mail-Meter [an unofficial calculation of the cost of postage for Town mailings that are more political than public service] tallies in at $291,600.00. As for the cost of material and production, who cares? Just keep those cards, letters and 8 1/2" x 11" glossy Murraygrams coming!