Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin told Five Towners on Thursday that although there was a tax freeze, it doesn’t necessarily mean bills won’t go up.
“Last year, the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County froze taxes,” Clavin said. “However, when people got their tax bills, their taxes went up. That’s because of the changes in the Nassau County assessment.”
Clavin and Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony Santino hosted a community meeting and tax forum at the , providing an overview of Five Towns taxation and an opportunity for residents to pose questions to Town of Hempstead officials.
“We’re very proud that we have a tax-free budget again this year, which means that the amount of money we are raising through property taxes this year is the same as last year," Santino said. "But, there still could be an increase on your tax bill, depending on assessment.”
Clavin urged residents to get their homes reassessed if they believe their assessment is too high. (See Patch at noon for Donna Galinsky's advice on challenging your assessment.)
“Right now is the time to challenge your assessment. The deadline to challenge it is March 1,” Clavin said. “The worst that could happen is that you get denied.”
He said that homeowners can do it themselves or hire an attorney, but not necessarily those who solicit through bulk mail. Even if the claim is denied, a small claims action can be filed within 30 days.
Clavin gave a brief summary of how taxes are allocated, stating that about 65 percent goes to the school district, 19 to 22 percent goes to Nassau County and nine to 13 percent goes to TOH.
For residents who like to pay their bills in person, during the last five days of each tax cycle, payments can be made at in Lawrence.
Santino talked about a few improvements made in the Five Towns, including the completion of the parking lot on Mill Road, just off of West Broadway.
“We’ve completely reconstructed the parking field, the drainage system, the curbing, the paving and the lighting,” he said. “Legislator Howard Kopel worked with us, because there was a small portion of that lot that was county-owned property, and he made sure the county took responsibility for their portion of the lot.”
The town assisted Hewlett Harbor and Hewlett Bay Park to partially fund the revitalization project.
“The Town of Hempstead came through with a $100,000 grant and is working with Nassau County and with those two villages to refurbish, dredge and clean up Willow Pond.”
Santino also spoke of the town’s ongoing roadwork, stating that they are prioritizing projects based on streets that are most in need of repair.
TOH is hosting related to an outbreak of “distraction burglaries” that target senior citizens. One will be held on Feb. 6 at the Cedarhurst Senior Center.
During the discussion period of the meeting, Chris Kritas, of Hewlett, asked about a that was done last year. There have been no findings yet from the study, which was conducted by the county, Santino said.
“Some of the roads down here were established in the 1800s, in the day of the horse and buggy,” Santino said. “You’re trying to deal with a 21st century problem on 19th century roads.”
Donald Flaumenbaum of Inwood asked if TOH officials could help illegal aliens.
“They are not going to go away, and people are just shuffling them around," he said. "No one helps them.”
Santino said it was a federal issue and suggested that he contact Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.
“I think they need to get on line behind those who are here legally,” he said.