By Anessa Cohen

By now, every Nassau County homeowner must have received at least one copy of the “Dear Property Owner” rip-off letters Laura Curran has sent out in her “quest” for “restoring accuracy and fairness” to the county’s assessment rolls.

The letter tells us how she has arrived at her formula for assessing future property values and, accordingly, Nassau County taxes. Essentially, she began with the market values as they exist today in 2018 and then added a percentage that she created with her magic wand. Voilà! This will be what our houses will be worth two years from now, in 2020, when her new market values kick in, together with her new-and-improved tax assessments based on the fictional values, which will be sent to us in the form of our new and higher adjusted tax bill.

She must have decided we are all stupid and can’t see what she has done; essentially, she is giving us all a huge tax raise but calling it by a different name: “an adjusted new and fair tax assessment so everyone will be fairly assessed.”

I would have found it less offensive if she just raised taxes the normal way and did not try to insult my intelligence. As of right now, the only number I would like to see is the date she is up for reelection so I can vote for whoever is running against her.

When I received the first letter, it stated that as a homeowner I had the right to meet with a Department of Assessment staff member “at a meeting where information supplied (by homeowner) will be reviewed and revisions to market value estimates will be made by Department of Assessment if deemed appropriate following each meeting.”

After reading this and seeing her ridiculous formula based on air, I called and made an appointment and brought with me suitable comparables for my home, ready to challenge whichever fool was pulling market values out of a hat and presenting them as my new 2020 assessment.

I get to my appointment, and the staff member opens her computer to try and show me mynassauproperties.com and how it works. I tell her I am a real-estate broker and do not need her guidance with this site. I explain that I want to discuss with her my challenge of her supposed assessment of my property and also to review the closed sales used to arrive at that market value against the closed sales that I had brought with me that I felt were the most accurate.

Her answer to me was priceless! She said, “We cannot discuss those market values with you; we are only allowed to show you how mynassauproperties.com works and the closed sales our people used to get to the value and assessment you see in that letter.” I pulled out the letter and showed her where Laura Curran was very specific in saying that the meeting appointments would be an opportunity to challenge the market values and the “new and improved” assessment values being quoted by her for 2020, and that I wanted to utilize my rights based on this letter to show her that everything they did with my property was wrong. Her answer to me was that the letter was in error and she had no authority to challenge anything.

I told her that if that were the case, since they wasted my time bringing me here for a bogus appointment, at the very least she could take down a complaint from me to the assessment people stating that the closed sales they used to arrive at the “new and improved tax assessment for 2020” were not even in the same neighborhood as my property, and if they were licensed appraisers, they would realize that with at least four recent closed sales on my block and around the corner, those should have been utilized first before going out of my neighborhood.

Obviously, this staff member could not care less about what I had to say, and who knows if she even passed on my complaint, but I must encourage everyone to call and write Laura Curran’s office and demand an immediate cancellation of this corrupt formula of “reassessment of our market values and assessment taxes.”

The first and most important reason to protest and demand an immediate cancellation of this project is because it is based on a false narrative. If she had said she was going to base 2020 tax assessments against the present 2018 market value of our homes, I might not have liked it, but at least it would be based on accurate data, not fantasy.

There is absolutely no formula or percentage that will accurately address market values of the future. Neither she nor anyone else is psychic, nor do they have a crystal ball revealing what the values of any of the properties will be worth two years from now. For this reason alone, she has no right projecting an increase that is not within the realm of reality.

If this is how she is addressing other areas of Nassau County finances, maybe someone from the state should be asked to intercede and see if any other of our rights are being trampled besides her attempt to address tax increases by creating false market values. Pick up your phone, send emails and letters, and protest, protest, protest. We are being swindled!

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.

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