Zapson has it all wrong
To the Editor:
I write in response to Michael Zapson’s latest column (“My new tax bill is through the roof,” Oct. 24-30).
Nassau County voters know Tom Suozzi’s and Mike Zapson’s record of political ineffectiveness. Nassau County taxpaying voters of all political persuasions are fed up with sky-high property taxes as well as former politicians like Suozzi and Zapson trying to confuse simple issues for their political benefit.
The issue that Zapson’s spin obscures is that as a result of Hurricane Sandy hitting Long Island, the combination of property destruction and exponential flood insurance increases has decreased the assessed value of properties along both shorelines. Many homeowners on Long Island sustained losses in late August 2011 from Hurricane Irene prior to suffering additional losses from Sandy. The result is, many people are now deciding they cannot afford to suffer another loss and are moving inland to the center of Long Island, which is driving property values higher in certain communities while reducing them in those near the shore. This issue, more than any other, is what is contributing to the higher-than-normal filing of tax assessment challenges. More importantly, almost 80 percent of the backlog of tax certiorari challenges are commercial, not residential.
As chairman of the Long Beach Democratic Committee, Zapson recently criticized Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano as irresponsible for borrowing money to repair critical infrastructure such as the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. Published reports indicate that the City Council of Long Beach, which is comprised of five elected Democrats recruited and chosen by Chairman Zapson, have all voted to approve borrowing $38 million to fund Sandy recovery projects in expectation of payments from the federal government. So to understand Zapson correctly, it is OK for Long Beach to borrow money to fund infrastructure improvements in the aftermath of Sandy, but not Nassau County? Based on Zapson’s position regarding borrowing, Nassau County should ignore the Bay Park plant, which has been compromised by Sandy, resulting in effluent being released into Reynolds Channel.
Only with responsible reinvestment in modernizing critical water treatment facilities can the county ensure the delivery of adequately treated water that protects our environment. Economists I know and respect suggest that with interest rates at historical lows, now is one of the best times to borrow money and reinvest, whether you are a homeowner looking to refinance or a municipality looking to modernize an aging infrastructure.
With the federal and state governments backstopping many of these investments with up to 90 percent reimbursement rates, they are even more compelling investments on behalf of weary taxpayers. Mangano was able to facilitate the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum without one dollar of taxpayer money required. Mangano reduced non-civil servant positions in his administration by more than 1,700 while privatizing bus service. Based on actual performance and results, not political spin, I implore my fellow taxpayers to vote for responsible government this November and return Ed Mangano as Nassau County executive.
Michael P. Mulhall
Blame assessment system, not our schools
To the Editor:
As county residents receive their tax bills, most are seeing a sharp spike in their taxes. County Executive Ed Mangano has tried to push the blame for this onto our schools. Don’t let the election-year politicking fool you: this is patently untrue — the tax increases lie squarely with the county.
Our schools have a 2 percent tax cap in place — it is absurd to think that schools are responsible for the 20 percent tax increases residents have faced over the last two years. Rather, these increases are a result of a sorely mismanaged county assessment system: our taxes go up in order to pay for all of the commercial tax refunds and politically connected law firms that get paid each time a grievance is filed.
If Mangano is able to convince the public that schools are to blame for his tax increases, you can be sure that it will be a bad four years for schools. By deceiving the public into thinking that the schools are at fault, he will justify further cuts and restrictions to our schools, leaving our once-renowned public education to fall behind. And on top of that, we’ll still be stuck with a broken assessment system!