NY Court of Appeals Decision To Deny Appeal by Nassau County Saves Millions of Dollars for North Hempstead Taxpayers. Case Impacts All Towns, Districts in Nassau County.
Contact: For Town of North Hempstead: Collin Nash firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 516-869-7794
For Jaspan Schlesinger: Rich Klein, Harrison Leifer DiMarco, 646-789 5459 (cell) 917-470-3073 email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NY Court of Appeals Decision To Deny Appeal by Nassau County Saves Millions of Dollars for North Hempstead Taxpayers
Case Impacts All Towns, Districts in Nassau County
Manhasset, NY, May 9, 2011….The New York Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by Nassau County which means that the County – not the Town of North Hempstead -- is responsible for paying some $1 million in tax refunds to Verizon for garbage taxes collected from the utility company.
By declining an appeal in New York Tel. Co. v Supervisor of Town of N. Hempstead from the Appellate Division, Second Department, the state’s highest court on May 5 confirmed the County’s historic statutory obligation to pay tax refunds owed to Verizon. The amount at issue was $559,000 before interest.
“This decision will save the Town and the property owners in the garbage districts, most of which contain only a few hundred residences, from crushing debt and residential tax increases resulting from the County’s assessment of the public utility transmission facilities,” said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman. “We are gratified that the courts would not allow the County to avoid its historic legal obligation to pay the refunds owed under the County’s assessment system.”
Nassau County, as opposed to virtually every other county in New York State, creates the assessment rolls for all towns, special districts and school districts. In 1948, the New York State Legislature, acting on request from Nassau County, enacted a State law that required all refunds for real property assessments
be paid by the County. This statute became known as the “County Guaranty”. Had the Town of North Hempstead not prevailed, the County Guaranty would have been nullified and the Town’s special districts and school districts would be responsible for paying real property tax refunds.
The prior County Attorney had attempted to argue that the County Guaranty was no longer in effect and the current Mangano administration continued to pursue that legal theory. The Appellate Courts have now ended that attempt with these recent decisions affirming the County’s legal obligation to pay refunds.
Supervisor Kaiman added: “This Court of Appeals’ decision will also be great news for all Nassau County school districts. In pursuing this case, the Town sought to avoid shifting an unfair burden onto our towns, districts and school districts. The determination by the 2nd Department is worth hundreds of millions prospectively to the Towns, Special districts and School Districts throughout Nassau County.”
A copy of the Second Department decision can be found at:
Jaspan Schlesinger LLP, based in Garden City, represented the Town of North Hempstead. Lead counsel Maureen Liccione pointed out that while preparing the legal briefs, the history and purpose of the County Guaranty became clear. “As a county attorney noted more than 35 years ago, any departure from the County Guaranty would prove to be an administrative and financial nightmare to the school districts, special districts and towns in the County of Nassau’.”