A continuing problem each year when the Village of Mineola formulates its fiscal year operating budget are tax certiorari payments or refunds to property owners who successfully challenge their assessments. These payments account for a major hit on the village's budget. For the 2006-2007 budget, tax certioraris eclipsed the $1 million mark. However, there may be a way for the village to stop the bleeding and save residents money.
Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins and the board of trustees are going ahead with a plan that will allow for two tax rates, one for commercial properties and one for residential properties and to adopt a new tax roll with a more equitable assessment level.
The tax certiorari problem is mostly connected to the assessment of commercial properties in the village with taxpayers paying for large refunds to commercial properties that have found to be over-assessed.
The new program allows the village to take Nassau County's tax roll and line it up with the village's tax roll since the county has recently done a full-blown reassessment.
If that sounds scary to residential property owners, there is another part of the program. The New York State Homestead Tax Option allows the village to separate tax rates. This will protect Mineola property owners from any major shifts in the tax burden since the village will have control of the residential tax rate and commercial tax rate.
The cost to do this project is estimated to be between $25,000 and $50,000. The company that will do the projects is Standard Evaluation Services, of which Matt Smith, CEO of Smith & DeGroat, is president.
Smith is the son of former mayor and former assessor Ed Smith. He grew up in Mineola and believes it is the right thing for the village to do and will save residents money.
The Village of Mineola will maintain its own assessment and own assessor. Although the village will be taking the county roll, it has the option of making modifications to properties the county may have over or under-assessed.
Current village assessor Richard Maher recommended to the village board that the village undertake this project. Maher said he is all for the proposal and believes it will enable the village to get a handle on the tax certiorari problem.
The mayor recognized Dennis Walsh of Albertson Place for participating in the village's Earth Day cleanup of the recharge basin in Mineola Memorial Park. Mr. Walsh attends all the village meetings and often brings up insightful points.
The Mineola Centennial Journal, which will be 180 pages, is currently in the process of being printed.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Private Adolph Block Post #1305 Commander Manny Grilo appeared before the village board. The Mineola VFW Post along with the Mineola American Legion Post #349 will be hosting the Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 29.
Commander Grilo, who is chairman of this year's parade, requested that Jericho Turnpike be shut down for the parade since he has gotten some comments in the past that the parade route was not safe. The parade takes about an hour. Commander Grilo feels that shutting the turnpike down for an hour out of the year is not too much to ask.
Mayor Martins explained that the village board has no authority to shut Jericho Turnpike down, but he would join with Commander Grilo in reaching out to the Nassau County Police Third Precinct to see if enough police personnel can be provided to close off the turnpike for the parade.
The parade will begin on Monday, May 29 at 11 a.m. The route is west on Westbury Avenue, north on Roslyn Road, west on Jericho Turnpike, south on Marcellus Road to Mineola Memorial Park where a ceremony will be held at the veteran's monument.