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At Long Last, Nassau County Property Values To Be Reassessed

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Hundreds of thousands of Long Island homeowners could soon see changes to their property assessments.

That could mean higher -- or lower -- taxes.

The change is coming to residents in Nassau County, where the assessment system has long been considered unfair and inaccurate, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.

"The assessment system has been broken for decades in Nassau County," receiver of taxes Don Clavin said.

MOREFile A Grievance Or Your Property Taxes Will Go Up In Nassau County, Experts Remind Homeowners

Clavin has been out on a mission, teaching residents how to grieve their property assessments. It's an essential lesson in Nassau, where valuations are so inaccurate, if you don't file a grievance you're probably paying too much.

"Record amounts of people are challenging their assessments in Nassau County. And if you're not challenging your assessment, when their assessments go down, guess who's going to pick up their share? You are," Clavin said.

A cottage industry of tax grievance firms has raked in millions.

"If they win a case, they let me know. I don't have to do a thing," one resident said.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran speaks about the Nor'easter impacting the Tri-State Area on March 2, 2018. (credit: CBS2)

But soon there will be a fix. All of Nassau's 400,000 properties will be reassessed at current and fair market value for the first time in almost a decade. County Executive Laura Curran is making good on a campaign promise to unfreeze property values and reassess every home and business.

"It is sorely needed. Our assessment system is so out of whack, so inaccurate and unfair. They expect us to get the assessments right, we're finally going to get that done," Curran said.

In rare bipartisan consensus, there's agreement the reassessment is needed. Republicans have pushed for -- and Curran has agreed to honor -- the state tax cap. Taxes won't go up more than 6 percent in one year and 20 percent in five years.

"I don't think it's going to be something people are welcoming. It's just not, because some people are going to pay more, and overall, everybody may be paying a little more or a little less. At least it will be even and that's what we want," Nassau County legislator Laura Schaefer said.

Meanwhile, Clavin has made a tutorial video on do-it-yourself tax grieving -- until the system is fixed.

So big changes are ahead for Nassau County taxpayers. Not only are property taxes no longer deductible under federal tax rules, but reassessment cold also bring tax bills up or down.

The Nassau Legislature is expected to vote on the reassessment contract on Monday.

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