by Christopher Boyle
LONG ISLAND, NY – Judging from the huge turnout at the most recent Nassau County Property Tax Exemption Workshop held at the Farmingdale Public Library, the idea of saving a few bucks isn’t a novel idea; in fact, considering the heavy taxes many Long Islanders contend with on a daily basis, one could say it was more of an act of desperation on the part of many attendees.
The Tax Exemption Workshops, which are held throughout the year in various communities throughout the county, brings the resources of the Department of Assessment from their home office right into the very backyards of local residents in order to offer a helping financial hand in this time of need, according to Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker.
“People can come to Mineola, but we really found that we can help our residents within their communities…especially some of the seniors, for whom a trip all the way to Mineola might be a bit much for them,” she said. “But they can come here with their paperwork, sit with someone from the Assessment Office who will go over everything, and get their questions answered. It’s really been very beneficial to our residents.”
(L to R): Director of Communication of the Nassau County Department of Assessment Randolph Yunker, Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
Walker noted that many people don’t realize that they may be eligible for certain exemptions, or that certain exemptions even exist, such as senior exemptions, veteran exemptions, and so on; these exemptions can add up, saving residents vital monies that can be better spent elsewhere, she said.
“Taxes are an issue for each and every one of us…we all live on fixed incomes, and it’s difficult. People have a tough time dealing with the taxes,” she said. “Sometimes people are even being taxed on something that they don’t even have in their home…for example, someone could have had a pool, but the pool isn’t there anymore, but they’re still being taxed on it. So, that’s an example of something that we can go over with them here.”
The Tax Exemption Workshops are due to a partnership between County Executive Edward Mangano and State Senator Kemp Hannon, and are aimed mostly at older residents who are living on fixed incomes. Randolph Yunker, Director of Communication of the Nassau County Department of Assessment, said that the day’s large turn-out was due to plenty of advertising of the event via local avenues such as the Library’s newsletter; when asked why the Workshops aren’t held at night, given the rising number of seniors who remain employed well into their 60’s, he noted that it was a financial issue.
“While we would love to hold these Workshops at night, we simply can approve the overtime to do that,” he said. “Unfortunately, they must be held during normal business hours. However, if residents are unable to attend, we will gladly come to their homes instead if need be.”
Yunker noted that applications were on-hand in case any attendees were first-timers or pursuing a renewal of an existing exemption; anyone looking to apply for a tax exemption must bring documents declaring proof of income, Nassau County residency, and the like.
There was a huge turnout at the most recent Nassau County Property Tax Exemption Workshop held at the Farmingdale Public Library. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle.
Richard Kalender of Farmingdale was one of many local residents attending the Workshop, and he wasn’t bashful about bemoaning the cost of living when it comes to being a homeowner in Nassau County.
“There are tax advantages you can get when you’re 65 – I’m not 65 yet, but I will be shortly – and I feel I can get some kind of benefit, so that’s why I’m here today,” he said. “Taxes are a very big problem on Long Island, especially when you become a senior citizen, because your income level goes down, but the taxes continue to go up. It’s just the opposite of what it should be, but hopefully the help being offered here today will offset that.”
Farmingdale resident Vinnie Bavero said that he’s doing everything he can to make ends meet so that he can remain living where he wants- close to him family, and he’s hopes that a little help from the Office of Assessment can make that happen.
“I know I’m getting a few deductions, but I want to see if I can get anything else,” he said. “I plan on retiring here, and I don’t want to leave Long Island…I want to stay here with my grandkids,” he said. “Without these exemptions it’s just not affordable, so I’m trying to save every penny that I can if I want to stay here. Every penny helps.”
Alberto Almonte of Hicksville was recently a victim of a scam involving unscrupulous individuals offering to save him money on his taxes…for a fee. Instead, he was taken for a ride to the tune of several hundred dollars with nothing to show for it, he said. His next stop- Farmingdale’s Tax Exemption Workshop, where he was hoping to achieve more legitimate avenues of financial assistance.
“I would like to take advantage of the opportunity that the county is offering to us…I just came from a very bad experience with people who I ended up paying for no reason, and I was taken advantage of. People must be very careful of swindlers like that,” he said. “I’m now in the neighborhood, I’m learning and want to be a part of the community, and I saw the letters from the local politicians about this Workshop. They have helped me a lot today.”
Applications and specific documentation requirements are available on the Department of Assessment website at www.mynassauproperty.com.