Monday, August 29, 2005

"Paying More Than Your Fair Share of Property Taxes Is Like...

. . .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!
- - -
*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!


  1. An article like this belongs in Newsday or on News 12. Most people don't even know what tax rates are. Let's educate the people.

  2. overtaxed in hempstead townMonday, August 29, 2005 2:35:00 PM

    I can't understand why Newsday and/or the local papers don't pick up on things like this. In other places, the media would have a field day with the lies, half-truths and blatantly false representations. In Nassau County, stuff like this goes by almost unnoticed.

    Glad to see The Community Alliance exposing the dirt. Maybe others will follow suit --- or at least pass this blog along!

  3. Seems like the Community Alliance should change it's name to the Democratic Alliance since all of the latest "BLOGS" are nothing more than a smear campaign directed towards Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead.
    I guess Tom Souzzi, Harvey Levinson and Nassau County are made of Teflon since they won't be taking and shots or blame for rise in County or propert taxes

  4. A little advice to the last "blogger." If the Republicans didn't fight resdidents on the problems with the "special districts", maybe the community alliance would not be so inclined to comment on them. Let's face it, the Republicans rely on the ignorance of people in the TOH. Maybe you should do your homework pal. The county has not increased our taxes in the last 3 years but my special district taxes have more than doubled. Oh, I forgot, the TOH has no control over "special districts", but they sure step out on a limb to protect them. At least the Democrats have stepped up to the plate to address these issues.

  5. embarrassed in east meadowTuesday, August 30, 2005 9:25:00 AM

    To the fella who wrote that the Alliance was conducting a "smear" campaign against Kate Murray and the GOP --- NONSENSE! "Smear" intimates that the statements made are somehow untrue or disingenuous. In this case, everything the Alliance has "blogged" is true.

    Hey, the facts speak for themselves. Just look at your tax bill. County taxes are down. Town taxes - an alleged surplus notwithstanding - are up. WAY UP!

    Anyone with the least bit of knowledge understands that it is not the Assessment that's killing us, its the TAX RATES! Of course, that's what Kate Murray and her ilk are relying upon. That all we have is the little bit of knowledge -- half truths at best -- stuffed in our mailboxes by the Murray Machine!

    Shame on them for looking to fool the people. Shame on those who continue to believe them. And shame on all of us if, come November 8th, we vote Kate and her cadre back into office!

  6. Many e-mails received relative to this Blog, quite a few expressing what we call "quiet indignation." "Let's educate the masses." "How can they get away with such lies?" "Why doesn't the media take up the cause?"

    Part of what we try to do at The Community Alliance, in disseminating information and opining on the local news, is designed to educate - and, more importantly, to get our readers thinking and questioning.

    "Let's educate the masses." Ignorance, after all, is one of society's greatest evils. Well, even this Blog - forwarded and relayed by many a reader - can only carry our collective voice so far. It is for every one of us, through every available medium, to stand up and speak out; to dispel the myth and counter the lie; to unmask the half-truths with hard, concrete fact.

    "How can they get away with such lies?" Simple. We choose to let them. Our silence, through public medium and otherwise, is acquiescence. We have, in many instances, sometimes unwittingly, become a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.

    "Why doesn't the media take up the cause?" In many respects, they do. We would not, after all, have much fodder for this Blog were it not for the free press.

    Newsday, News12, and the local community papers cannot conceivably cover every angle of every story. When reporting for the masses, there is the inclination to paint with broad brush strokes, in language that reduces almost everything to the level of the lowest common denominator. There are restraints of time, of space, and of editors'/publishers' fancy and folly.

    Of course, this does not preclude the rank and file from chiming in on the critical issues of the day. Sure, we Blog. What can you do? Write Letters to the Editors of Newsday and the local papers. Attend Town and community meetings and speak your mind. Engage friends, family and neighbors in discussions and debates. And do that which, more than anything, promotes positive and beneficial change - VOTE!

  7. Sorry used the less than politically correct term "smear" in my last posting.

    Seems odd though that Harvey Levinson took the job as NC Accessor and EVERYONE is complaining about the increases; so rather than correct the assesment process he went on a "crusade" to prove that it's all the special districts faults and the TOH

    Nice job Harvey and now he's running for TOH Supervisor - Nice job

    One has nothing to do with the other I guess?

    Or maybe I'm just "ignorant" maybe the NC residents should take a look at the County Parks and overpaid seasonal workers?

    My point being is that a Civic Organization should not be so blatantly obvious which political party they are campaigning for!

    Don't blame one without the other for Higher taxes the TOH & NC both are at fault for the situation we now face

  8. Hope the Community Alliance is not a Not for Profit organization because you could jeopardize that status

  9. Town of Hempstead taxes are High?

    How's about the Property assesments being raised I guess thats included in that no Nassau County tax raises for the past 3 years.

    I have an even better one than that how about you look at your Tax Bills more closely - Your school taxes have the most increases by far.

    So stop trying to blame one another for your problems; it's an all inclusive problem across the board.

    It's becoming harder to afford to live on Long Island with all the taxes.

  10. To the last blogger,

    Once again... The assessments do not set the tax rates the BUDGETS do. Therefore, just because the assessed values have gone up does not mean that more money is being collected. The budgets increasing means more money.

    Also, who hired Cole, Layer, Trumbell (the company responsible for the reassessments? THE REPUBLICANS
    Guess what, they lowered the tax rates for commercial properties and shifted that responsibilty onto us, the TAXPAYERS!!

    So, technically, Levinson walked into the the mess set up by the Republicans.
    Now Kate Murray is pointing the finger at Levinson for the problem her Cronies created.
    Nice try!
    Obviously my memory is a little better than hers. Or maybe it is what you call Selective Memory.

  11. Who renewed CLT after bashing it in his election bid and saying he would get rid of it...Harvey Levinson

    Who said that he would take care of illegal housing by changing residential properties to commericial and then after 2 years has only done it to two(2) properties in Elmont, even though he has been told of many more....Harvey Levinson

    Who campaigned he would correct the assessments and after two years is still handing out hundreds of millions in refunds...Harvey Levinson

    Who intially proposed an income tax(look at his own press release on his website because he uses those words) then only to say he didn't propose it...Harvey Levinson

    The record speaks for itself. I have yet to see a real reason to vote for him other than he is not Kate Murray.