Government Efficiency Project
Why Are Long Island Property Taxes so High?
LIPC’s Nassau County Government Efficiency Project is working to reduce monetary waste, abuse, and corruption in Nassau’s special taxing districts. In Nassau County, we are unfairly burdened by the nation’s second-highest property taxes.
We are working to reform special taxing districts by consolidating and dissolving them. Property taxes can be lowered if we consolidate special taxing districts’ administrative “back office” functions such as insurance, payroll and purchasing. You could save hundreds more if public services, like water and sanitation were integrated into county or town-wide entities.
Everyday hard-working families struggle to make ends meet due to high Nassau County property taxes. If you live in a special taxing district, much of the property tax you pay goes to these single-service taxing entities such as: water, fire, sanitation, sewer, lighting, library, etc. The Towns of Oyster Bay and North Hempstead each have roughly 50 taxing districts, and the Town of Hempstead is burdened with over 100 taxing districts.
Many special taxing districts are charging you excessive tax rates for their operations which include: large salaries, expense accounts, and generous insurance and retirement packages. Audits have found some huge disparities in taxing districts, some of which are run inefficiently and without proper rules, regulations or adequate oversight. Unfortunately, many of these districts use millions of your tax dollars without a governing body overseeing their actions.
Special District Reform is Needed Now. Consolidating taxing districts will combine special taxing districts into existing entities to save you money. While still providing the best local services and quality you deserve, you will be paying less. For example, consolidating the Town of Hempstead’s special sanitation districts into the Town of Hempstead’s Department of Sanitation would reduce taxpayer costs, producing a more efficiently run sanitation department and lowering resident’s taxes.
The only way consolidation can happen is with your help.
Together we will fight for a more transparent, efficient government and lower taxes.
10 Ways Special Taxing Districts Waste Taxpayer Money:
1. Undemocratic Elections
As of now, the Board of Elections does not regulate Special District elections. This means they can be held anytime and anywhere with little notice to you the taxpayer.
2. Taxation Without Representation
Special fire, sewer, sanitation, library, park and other districts have the ability to tax and spend without answering to any other government entity, giving them the unfair ability to inflate your tax bill and spend your money irresponsibly.
3. Elections in the Kitchen
One of the more popular places for Special Districts to hold their elections is in a District commissioner’s kitchen—another location was the basement of a District commissioner’s house. Elections should be held in a place that ensures fair, balanced elections.
4. Health Benefits to the Deceased
One Hempstead Sanitation District employee received healthcare premiums for three years following his death. This is your hard earned money going to someone who isn’t even alive.
5. More Vehicles than Employees
While many districts use a fleet of cars to help provide services to constituents, many of Nassau’s special districts actually have more cars in their fleet than they have employees on staff.
6. Stereo Systems
A common perk for trucks in special district fleets is state-of-the-art stereo systems, paid for with taxpayer dollars.
7. Plenty in the Bank
Former Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman’s reported the Cathedral Gardens water district had enough money in the bank to provide services to constituents, free of charge for seven and a half years.
8. Exorbitant Pay for Workers & Free Housing for Commissioners
Workers for the Oyster Bay sewer district make $101,000 annually. Some Nassau Water Commissioners have their homes paid for in full by the district for as long as they are the commissioner of their special district.
What is the best way to get one of these convenient positions? Be related to someone who works for the special district. According to published reports, patronage plays a huge role in how positions are allocated.
10. Paid to Play
In addition to full-time health benefits, many part-time commissioners receive $80-$100 “per diem” for services- which, according to published records for one district, includes playing 18 holes of golf on a weekday.
The vast majority of the services provided by special districts could be easily provided by the towns and in many cases, these districts could easily merge together, saving taxpayers money.
To learn more about our reform efforts contact Serena Liguori at 516-541-1006 ext.13 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more information: Nassau County Government Efficiency Project: http://www.fixmypropertytaxes.com.