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Letter: Assessment System Winners and Losers

Something is very wrong with Nassau County’s assessment system when 87 percent of appeals are successful.  You don’t have to look hard to see evidence of a broken system.  The county website shows that several nearly identical homes on one block in Hicksville had assessed values that ranged from $322,000 to $436,000. These were homes built the same year by the same builder and had very little difference in modifications yet their 2013 total property taxes, based on assessed value, vary by almost $2500!

You can easily find other examples of this failed system by looking at page 9 of last week’s Illustrated (October  9-15) where  two recently sold homes in Hicksville had nearly identical taxes of $8500, but one sold  for $404,000 while the other for  $650,000!  A little research on the county website shows the $650,000 home had its assessment value reduced 4 times since 2010, from $505,200 to the current $366,800. Based on its recent sale price of $650,000, it is clear that this property should not have seen a reduced assessment.

Who are the winners and losers in such a broken system?  As stated in the October 9-15 Hicksville Illustrated, when one tax payer wins a reduction another property owner must make up the difference. It’s bad enough that one taxpayer’s win is another’s loss but upwards of half these reductions go to the firms that solicit this business. Perhaps they are the only true winners because eventually every home owner will come to the realization that they must file an annual appeal to “win” their fair share!  Unfortunately many millions will have already been diverted way from towns and school districts to pay the fees of the firms who profit from this broken county assessment system?

At a recent candidate’s night one candidate for the county legislature stated that everyone has the right to file an appeal; it was their fault if they didn’t! But I ask you is that any way to run a government? The county needs a common sense approach to this assessment mess. People with similar homes should have similar real estate assessments. Is that too much to ask?

Phil Heckler, Hicksville resident

News

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.

Some students returning to school the first day might see a new face on the bus: Hicksville’s new interim superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso.

“Every year on the first day of school I ride one of the buses. To see the face of a kindergartener on that first ride just reminds you of why you’re in the field,” he says.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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