Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin Jr. and Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana are launching a series of town-sponsored bilingual tax-reduction seminars for Spanish-speaking homeowners. Gil Bernandino, executive director of Circulo De La Hispanidad and the Evergreen Charter School, said the effort was begun without the Latino community having to push for it.
“This was done with so much respect to our community . . .,” Bernandino said. “Thank you for including us.”
The first seminar will be May 30 at the Freeport Memorial Library. Seminars will also take place in Elmont, Valley Stream, Oceanside, East Meadow and other communities through June 21, and wrap up at the Uniondale Public Library.
The program is designed to help Hispanic residents file for property tax reductions and exemptions with Nassau County. Traditionally, the town has hosted seminars in English to teach homeowners how to challenge their property-tax as-sessments and potentially save thousands of dollars, but they have not been held in Spanish — until now.
“The Hispanic community de-serves access to the same tax relief as every other community in Hempstead Town,” Clavin said.
According to the town officials, they began realizing there was a language barrier during tax time, when Clavin’s office received relatively few calls and office visits from Spanish-speaking homeowners. Clavin said that thousands of homeowners in the town may be unaware that they are entitled to property-tax reductions, particularly if they face a language barrier.
The town is now also printing fliers in both English and Spanish.
“It’s expensive to live on Long Island,” said Cabana, who is a Spanish speaker. “That’s why presenting tax-reduction seminars in a bilingual format is so important to Hispanic homeowners who live in our township.”
“Taxpayers . . . are finally going to get the tools needed to show them how to enjoy the tax benefits they are legally entitled too,” Clavin said.