(Ed.'s Note: The following letter was sent to TONH Supervisor Jon Kaiman and is printed here at the writer's request.)
An Aug. 6 Newsday article reported on the efforts of the Nassau County Assessor, Harvey Levinson, to reclassify as commercial properties several single-family homes which had been illegally divided into multiple dwellings.
When classified as a single-family dwelling, the amount of the taxes collected on a property should be appropriate for the services (schools, police, fire, highway, library, town, county etc.) provided to one family. Clearly, when a property houses multiple families, additional municipal services are provided to that larger group (additional classroom seats, additional police protection, etc.). If a property becomes home to multiple families, but continues to be classified, and taxed, as a single family dwelling, that property is no longer paying its fair share.
It is fully reasonable, then, that an improperly classified property should be reclassified so that it pays an appropriate tax for the services being provided to it.
The article reports that the supervisors of Hempstead and of Oyster Bay have indicated their willingness to cooperate with Mr. Levinson in his efforts to curb unsafe illegal housing. Unfortunately, it reports that you have declined to participate, citing that your administration is " ... going to go after illegal housing the best way we can." While I applaud any efforts your office may take, I would assume they could be worked simultaneously with the assessor's office. I cannot fathom why you would refuse to work with Mr. Levinson and his novel approach to making these tax cheaters pay their full way.
Kenneth J. Buettner