But Geoffrey Gloak, a Department of Taxation and Finance spokesman, said this was not true, and that the department recommended that municipalities use their “taxable status date” — Nassau County’s is Jan. 2 — as the deadline for school boards to opt in. Gloak stressed that this was only a recommendation.
“That’s not binding on the school districts,” he said. “If they can work it out with the county that they want to opt in after that date, that’s fine.”
“The Nassau County Department of Assessment sent all school districts information regarding the conflict in date after the March deadline we were previously given,” read a statement provided to the Herald on behalf on the Lynbrook school board. “The existing legislation did not provide a great deal of specific parameters for schools. If the legislation provided for an exemption including an income-based means test and a different mechanism for funding the exemption, other than shifting the burden to the remaining resident taxpayer base, we would most certainly consider revisiting this issue.”
The statement concluded that, while the board appreciates the service of veterans and other volunteers, trustees “need to balance all financial issues facing our entire tax base.”
In most New York counties, local municipalities handle property assessments. Nassau and Tompkins County, in central New York, have the only county governments that assess property values. The taxable status date — the date on which assessors value the condition and ownership of property for tax purposes — is March 1 for most towns and villages. Nassau’s code, however, sets its taxable status date as Jan. 2.
In an email to the Herald on April 7, the Department of Taxation and Finance stated that it had discussed the matter with Nassau County officials to make clear that “our recommendation regarding adoption of the exemption prior to taxable status date is not binding.” Davis nevertheless said in a later email that the county Department of Assessment would abide by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s recommendation.
One veteran’s opinion