Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blame It On The Assessor

Town Of Hempstead Points Fingers Elsewhere -- Again

Is there anything else Supervisor Kate Murray and the folks at the Town of Hempstead can think of to blame on Nassau County Assessor Harvey Levinson?

School shootings?

The proliferation of nuclear weapons?

President Bush's veto of the child health care bill?

Global warming, perhaps?

Seems that, as the Nassau County Assessor had intimated, additional properties have been added to the county's tax rolls, meaning that the townships -- Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay -- will now have to recalculate their 2008 preliminary budgets.

Only Hempstead Town -- who else? -- has complained, blaming the Assessor, as they do with everything else, for the need to adjust the budget. [Which part of the word preliminary did Kate Murray not understand?]

None of the other townships seem to have a problem recalculating their budgets. In fact, they had expected too. Indeed, they should want to. After all, adding properties to the tax rolls is in the taxpayers' best interest.

Guess no one was paying much attention to this at Hempstead Town Hall. So what else is new?

Poor Town of Hempstead Comptroller John Mastromarino. He told Newsday, "Every single taxing entity we have, from the general fund to sanitation, changed."

And he only has two employees in his department. What? No part-timers, with full-time benefits? We're sure the Supervisor can take a few people off of the sign-stealing crews to help you out in your time of need.

Geez. With all those budget lines -- sanitation, lighting, sewer, highways, water, air -- recalculating that preliminary budget could take years. Decades, even. According to Town officials, more than 130 lines in the budget will have to be recalculated.

Boo hoo. Looks like the Town will have to create a Get Out Your Pencils District. Better yet, cut out some of those 130 lines. We're sure the taxpayers won't be heard to complain.

Bottom line: It would appear that Town of Hempstead taxpayers will SAVE money once the Town recalculates its budget. [And who tells them to have all those commissioner-run special taxing districts -- over which the Supervisor says she has no control -- anyway?]

So what's with all the bellyaching from the town clowns? They actually have to do some work?
Get out the violins and take up a collection, please.

Hey, if you guys at Hempstead Town Hall can't handle it, give it up and let others have a shot. After all, 100+ years of blaming all of the Town's problems on someone else is more than enough!
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Hempstead to redo preliminary budget

Hempstead officials said that they will have to redo their preliminary budget for next year, because the County Assessor changed town assessment figures.

The new figures released by the county five days after the preliminary budget was published, will affect town tax rates and the budgets of the 14 commissioner-run special districts.

"Every single taxing entity we have, from the general fund to sanitation, changed," said comptroller John Mastromarino. He said more than 130 lines in the budget will have to be recalculated.

But County Assessor Harvey Levinson said town officials knew that the original figures were preliminary. He said they were released with the understanding that they might have to be updated. He said his office has added 6% more property to the tax rolls, which will drop the town tax rate.

"The net effect may be marginal but, my goal is to make the property tax roll as accurate as possible and that, in the long run, is in the best interest of the taxpayer," Levinson said.

Officials in Nassau's two other towns -- Oyster Bay and North Hempstead -- say they expected the updated figures and that while they have to do some refiguring, the impact on taxpayers will be negligible.

Homeowner's in all three towns won't see much of a difference in their tax bills, as the impact will be minimal, Levinson said. But some Hempstead homeowners may see a slight decrease in their property taxes.

Mastromarino said his two-person staff has spent hours working on the recalculations since receiving the new figures last week. He said it will take them another three or four days to complete the task, including redoing charts.

Towns have to until Nov. 20 to finalize their budgets. Hempstead plans to keep on schedule for the Oct. 16 public hearing on their town budget.

Basing their budgets on income and expenses, town officials apply the assessment information, which is usually released to them in August, to calculate tax rates.

For North Hempstead, the net effect for the general fund was a reduction in the overall tax levy of $505, officials said. The net effect for each special district was much the same, they said, extremely small and easily compensated for by minor adjustments.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.

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