Look At Tuckahoe - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1616177

Look At Tuckahoe

You’re kidding — really? Recent reports by Newsday and the state comptroller’s office underscore what many already know: “Nassau and Suffolk homeowners are severely overburdened by housing costs.” Preeminent among those costs are property taxes.

And while Nassau property owners are holding their assessors to account by filing lawsuit after lawsuit, we, in the Town of Southampton, will be awaiting the results of a “study” proposed by Jay Schneiderman as an election-year sop. “A Study as it Relates to Market Trend Analysis and Full Valuation impacts on the Assessed Valuation of Real Property with the Town of Southampton,” which accompanies a two-year moratorium on tax increases. That is the equivalent of putting a temporary hold on your bank account after it has been emptied out.

The study has generated a “committee” composed of five of the usual suspects, with no community representatives, to study the “impacts” of the prejudicial, heinous, burdensome method of taxation currently employed, and to muse on “whether other assessment approaches might be better for the town.”

Mr. Schneiderman might have hazarded a guess about the “impacts” when he first took office here, arriving with full experience of the much fairer, less devastating method of assessing property in East Hampton, and he could have weighed in on or implemented “other assessment approaches” that he knew firsthand were less vicious. Instead, he decided it was more fun to spend taxpayers’ money, and only now will assess how that money is obtained.

Should he and the “committee” really like to “learn” about the impacts of annual market value tax assessments, especially as it impacts working families and older residents, they need go no farther than Tuckahoe, where taxes doubled last year and the impact was the equivalent of a sledgehammer wielded at full force bashing into your skull.

The little Duchy of Tuckahoe, home to the infamous “Tuckahoe Triangle” (created when? how?), suffered 147 properties in the Village of Southampton and the Southampton School District to be plopped onto the rolls of the Tuckahoe School District. Residents in the triangle pay both town and village taxes, with most going to the school at the highest tax rate they could devise, sparing many a millionaire in the estate section and actually lowering property values. It’s a mess, all agree, with no thought to changing it.

As with most things municipal, reversal and change are hard to envision by overpaid bureaucrats content to go along with things as they are — or, in this instance, things as they have made them, at high cost to us.

Going forward, a word to the “committee”: Forget the study’s Cliff Notes — just study the cliff that market value assessment pushes many of us over.

Frances Genovese



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