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Nassau Residents Grill County Officials Over Dreaded Tax Reassessment

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Hundreds of homeowners in Nassau County were fired up at a Wednesday public meeting about recent property tax reassessment numbers.

Some are facing tax increases, while others could soon be paying a lot more. Long lines wrapped around outside the county's legislative chambers, while overflow rooms were set up inside to accommodate the crowds.

It was a full house, with people eager to ask questions and air their deep concerns.

"I am outraged and frightened over the increases," Levittown resident Frances DiGiovanni said.

Frances and Marchel DiGiovanni, living with disabilities, are now facing an increase of $3,000.

"Our budget cannot be changed to accommodate higher taxes," Francis said.

The DiGiovannis were among hundreds of residents trying to get answers directly from officials after receiving their shocking tax reassessment bills in the mail.

"I was assessed $200,000 more," Bellmore resident Linda Grossman said. "How do you assess me $200,000?"

Another concerned resident said "the reassessment is a mess."

The long-feared reassessment is the first countywide assessment in eight years, with around 400,000 homeowners affected. Officials say around half the property values will go up, while half will go down.

Many homeowners are skeptical of the process that led to the numbers.

"We need transparency," said one, while another said they felt "cheated."

County Assessor David Moog says the numbers are not only accurate, but also verified by an outside expert.

"Our job is to make sure that the properties were properly valued and that the taxes are then portioned out by the different  taxing authorities," Moog said.

County Executive Laura Curran also defended the reassessment, calling it necessary and long overdue.

"If we waited any longer for this to rot and fester, the disparities would've gotten even worse, even more unfair, and more difficult (and) painful to fix," she said. "We finally have fair taxes to help the county from accumulating mountains of debt."

Curran is hoping to phase in the new values, asking the state to allow a five-year transition period to help homeowners adjust. For anyone with questions about their assessment, appointments at one-on-one outreach centers are available through the end of January. More info on that can be found HERE.

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