Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Poor Get Poorer

Now It's The Library Districts' Turn To Tax

A recent review of the property taxes levied by the 52 Public Library Districts in Nassau County reveals, probably to no one's great surprise, disparate and disproportionate property tax levies, with residents in some of the "poorest" Districts paying the most for library services.

A survey, as conducted by Harvey Levinson, Chairman of the Nassau County Board of Assessors, and reported in Newsday, reveals that residents in some lower income areas are paying more than $600 per year in library taxes while others in wealthier areas pay less than $50 per year. [SEE, LI Library Taxes Hit Poorest Hardest.]

Based on a market value of $350,000, for instance, a homeowner in Roosevelt, the highest taxed Library District in the County, will pay $630.40 in Library District taxes for calendar year 2006. Meanwhile, in the Gold Coast Library District (Oyster Bay), an owner of a home with a like market value (as if there was a house to be had in Oyster Bay for $350,000), will pay $42.96 in 2006 for Library District taxes. [SEE, Library Taxes.] While median income figures for the respective communities have not been furnished, suffice it to say that we can take notice of the fact that, in terms of monetary wealth, at least, Roosevelt is not Oyster Bay.

"Since library taxes are not as high as school taxes they get lost in the analysis," Levinson told Newsday. "Most people pay the library tax with their school tax bill, and nobody informs the community that they are paying substantial amounts to borrow books."

In some communities, residents are not only paying more for trash collection than they are for police protection, they're also paying more to read and borrow books than they are to have that cop on the beat.

So, we can now safely add Nassau's Library Districts to the growing list of Special Districts -- providing services from the water we drink to carting the garbage we throw away -- where residents on one side of the proverbial tracks pay much more, or much less, than those who live on the other side of the tracks.

Why do we have 52 separate Library Districts -- each setting their own tax rates -- in a single County? Why do we have more than 400 distinct taxing jurisdictions in a single County? What is it that makes these tax districts so "special," and how is it that no one -- whether the County, the townships, or the State -- is willing to take control?
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Eliminate? Consolidate? Or Continue To Tolerate?

A citizens advisory committee on the Special Districts, to be composed of concerned community advocates working closely with government officials, is presently in formation.

Local community leaders, from Elmont to Wantagh, can contact Laura Mallay at 516-833-6699 or by e-mail at for more information and to get on board.

Bookmark The Community Alliance blogspot for further details.
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Meanwhile, Back At The County Legislature. . .

Our fellow bloggers at Nassau GOP Watch have been keeping tabs on the ongoing antics that threaten to stand democratic (with a small "d") rule on its head. [SEE, "If Nominated, I Will Not Run...".]

For the latest on the side show that has become the main event at the Nassau County Seat, SEE Newsday's State Blocks Nassau Dems From Preventing Presiding Officer Vote.]

Your elected government at work -- or not!

1 comment:

  1. While Harvey Levinson is doing all this work in getting facts and figures,Is there anyone in the State, County or Town working on fixing this taxing mess? The years keep going on and on yet there has been no changes made in the way we fund education. Years ago we would complain about budgets over 1 or 2 percent now we look at any where between 8 and 17 percent increases. How much longer can we afford to put up with these taxes before the bottom falls out? They say history repeats, Hempstead Harbor could use a good Tea Party. I'll get the permits someone get the Tea and lets start this tax revolution.