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School tax collection deadline pushed back to June 1: county executive

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Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced Monday that, by order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the school tax collection deadline has been delayed by a little more than three weeks.

"At my request," Curran, a Democrat from Baldwin, tweeted Monday evening, " [Governor Cuomo] is issuing an executive order that will push back the May 11th property tax payment deadline for school districts in Nassau County. More details to come soon."

The new deadline is June 1.

Earlier in the day, the Republican-controlled Legislature had voted to push back the deadline to June 10, but Curran contended the Legislature did not have the authority to change the date, only the governor.

Curran spoke at length on Saturday about the proposal before the County Legislature to delay collection of school taxes that were to come due in May. 

Many residents have been laid off or have seen their hours reduced, and so are looking for financial relief. Delaying school taxes, however, could have serious financial consequences for the county, Curran said.

Projecting a more than $260 million budget deficit for Nassau, Curran said Tuesday that the county was instituting a hiring freeze and was looking to curtail non-essential services if possible. All department heads have been asked to develop plans to save money.

"We will get through this together," the county executive said, noting, "We have the grit, we have the resilience."

At her Saturday news conference, she explained the county must guarantee all school tax collections, meaning if the school districts come up short in their collections, then the county must provide the funding to the districts — by law.

She said the county is hurting financially, as are all municipalities, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sales and property tax collections comprise 67 percent of the county’s more than $3 billion budget. Sales taxes have plummeted during the outbreak, starving the county of one of its two primary revenue sources, Curran said.

She worries about county employees, she said, and wants to ensure the county maintains its force of first responders, including police officers and medics.

The federal and state governments, she said, must step in to ensure the county has enough cash on hand to meet its financial obligations, including to its employees, so it can continue to provide essential services.