Friday, 19 August 2011 00:00
Congratulations on your coverage of positions of the candidates for the 18th Legislative District. It is good for us readers to hear both sides. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton presented strong and thoughtful arguments on both the Coliseum and the assessment issues, while Robert Germino basically skirted the Coliseum issue and then simply backed Mr. Mangano’s proposal to take away the county’s guarantee of its assessments.
Delia pointed out that with the 2 percent tax cap in place, forcing the school districts to pay for the county’s assessment mistakes would cut to the heart of the schools’ ability to function properly. There are millions of dollars at stake. Delia also proposed solutions to two related aspects of the problem. One would be to give the Glen Cove taxpayers a credit for that portion of the county taxes they pay which would go to the payment of refunds for school districts throughout the county. The second would involve a pro-rata assessment of county taxes on the residents of each school district based on the total refunds due from that school district. This would not raise the total amount of county taxes, but would distribute the payment of the approximately $55 million in annual refunds in an equitable way.
Mr. Germino only considered the situation in Glen Cove, unique since by state law it has to pay its own refunds. His support of the Republican proposal to have the county no longer guarantee its assessments would have a harmful effect on the school districts in the other communities in the 18th Legislative District: Locust Valley, Lattingtown, Bayville, Sea Cliff, Glen Head, all the way to Jericho. He completely ignored the 2 percent tax cap on school districts, which he did not even mention, and which, together with the loss of the county guarantee of its assessments, would cause havoc for the schools.
Good schools are important to all of us, for the children are our future.