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Suozzi Redux?

Plans still undisclosed for school tax certiorari

The probability of former Nassau County Supervisor Tom Suozzi getting his old job back from Edward Mangano will hinge on how he handles the bane of any Nassau resident’s existence—taxes.

During a visit last week to the Anton Community Newspapers’ office in Mineola – days after he announced his decision to run - Suozzi was pointed in his criticism of the county’s desire to pass the County Guarantee Reform Act, which makes schools, villages and towns pay their share of tax certiorari refunds for incorrect assessments.

“What the county did this year is that they settled every SCAR (Small Claims Assessment Review) case no matter what,” he said. “We would have liked to have settled everyone too but you can’t, because some of them are bogus claims. What [this administration] did was the politically popular thing to do and make all these people happy by saying they settled all [these cases] quickly. They actually gave away more assessments on these guys but put more [financial] burdens on other people.”

If tax cap was last year’s buzz word, then expect tax certiorari to be the phrase that will be a constant, particularly as school districts like Garden City, are rolling their sleeves up to grapple with the 2013-14 budget. With some help from the Garden City Teachers Association re-negotiating its contract last year, the school board was able to apply approximately $675,000 savings towards staying under the 2 percent tax cap. But should the County Guarantee Reform Act pass muster in the courts, where’s it currently in litigation, the Garden City school district’s ability to stay below the two percent property tax cap will be severely hindered. It’s a major concern for Dr. Robert Feirsen, the district’s school superintendent.

“One of the most significant [expenses] for our school district [are these] tax certiorari lawsuits that could be millions of dollars,” explained Feirsen. “We’ve never had to contend with that before, because when the county acknowledged that they made the error, they would pay the damages. Now the county shifted that to the school districts and potentially millions of dollars to Garden City.”

The current handling of tax certiorari lawsuits has certainly caught Suozzi’s attention, given his view on how unfair the end result is to school districts around the county. It’s an issue he’s given a lot of thought to, although he wasn’t quite ready to offer any solutions just yet.

“I don’t think we should be doing it that way. It’s still the same problem, we’re just having [these lawsuits] paid by the school districts instead of being paid by the county and just shifting the burden,” he exclaimed. “I’m going to come out with a more detailed assessment plan during the course of the campaign. I have some very interesting ideas that I’ve been noodling with some smart people but I’m not prepared to discuss it yet.”

Complicating matters more is the fact that the added incurred expense from tax certiorari lawsuits is not exempt from the 2 percent cap Garden City and all other school districts are expected to stay below. It’s an understandable source of frustration and consternation for Dr. Feirsen, particularly given how inequitable feels the situation is.

“If we’re sitting on a few million bucks in terms of tax refunds that we are liable for, that basically eats up all of the allowable increases [within the cap] and then some,” he said. “[It] makes any increase within the tax levy cap ridiculous because we now have all these millions of dollars of lawsuits that we’re responsible for, and we have nothing to do with assessments.”

News

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com