If you begin attending law school today, you probably will be far enough along in your legal career to make a killing when the Long Island Railroad gets to the next phrase of its ambitious capital plan and the lawsuits clog the courts.
You might remember the hue, cry and political fireworks in 2005 when the LIRR proposed adding a third track to the main line from Floral Park to Hicksville. This 10-mile stretch of ties and steel would have required building an elevated track alongside the current structure in Floral Park. Village residents struck back at plans for a massive infrastructure project in downtown. Farther east, in New Hyde Park, worries of the railroad slicing away chunks of residential properties and even seizing homes by eminent domain helped put the kibosh on the third track.
At a time when talk of Long Island school and water district consolidation has stirred up plenty of pushback, 14 Nassau County fire departments joined forces to apply for federal grants. The result? Great Neck, East Williston, Vigilant, Albertson, Manhasset-Lakeville, New Hyde Park, Lynbrook, Lakeville, South Hempstead, Port Washington, Plandome, Floral Park Center, and Bellerose Terrace fire departments will share almost $700, 000 in federal monies.
Spearheaded by Williston Park based Grant-Guys, New York State’s largest fire grant company, the resulting funding monetary influx comes via AFGP (Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program), a federal program to update firefighter safety and response throughout the nation. The money will allow these departments to share the burden of expensive and highly specialized costs such as personnel, marketing and advertising. And given how each of these fire districts wound up each receiving a piece of the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) award, consolidation may not be such a bad way to go.
About 80 percent of Nassau County’s tax grievances every year are filed by outside companies, rather than by the homeowners themselves. Many homeowners believe that they will be more successful if they hire an outside firm. Yet, when individual homeowners file by themselves, they receive the full benefit of the tax reduction. Outside firms and attorneys typically charge fees between 35 and 50 percent of the homeowner’s first year’s savings. The success rate for homeowners filing themselves is almost the same as for those using representatives. For the 2012-13 tax year, 80.1 percent of homeowners filing themselves received reductions and 82.6 percent of those using a representative received reductions, according to Darlene Harris, chairperson of the Assessment Review Commission (ARC).
The County makes information on grieving property assessments very accessible. The ARC website guides residents in the steps for filing a grievance. Through the ARC’s online appeal system, AROW, homeowners can first determine if their homes are overvalued. Once a determination that a property value is excessive has been made, it’s time to file an application for correction of assessment, either by paper or online. Filing online is recommended, as it is faster and more accurate. There is no fee to file the appeal. In 2013, the filing period runs until May 1.
More than 100,000 Nassau County homeowners challenged their property assessments last year, seeking tax reductions. Were you one of them? If not, should you have been? At a time when real estate values are still down, the good news is that you may be over-assessed and therefore paying more property taxes than you should. The only way to reduce your assessment is by filing a grievance with the Nassau County Assessment Review Commission.
“You have the right to a fair and accurate assessment,” reads the Nassau County Property Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Frustrated with their taxes, each year approximately one third of Nassau’s homeowners challenge their assessments. In essence, they’re arguing that the county has over-estimated the market value of their property, resulting in a higher assessment than comparable properties. In the grievance, they’re seeking a reduction in the assessed value of their property upon which their taxes are based.
It’s hard not to smile when you meet Betsey Johnson. Maybe it’s the tiara-like cat ears she’s sporting. Or the bejeweled hi-tops and leggings you’d expect to see on someone a quarter the age of the 70-year-old fashion icon. But it’s exactly this kind of unconventional approach to haute couture that’s allowed her to thrive for four-plus decades, accruing a devoted following that’s enthralled by all those items carrying the Betsey Johnson moniker—clothes, jewelry, shoes and other accessories. No further proof was needed than the throngs of Betsey zealots lined up outside the women’s shoe department at Macy’s Roosevelt Field on a recent Saturday afternoon.
“I hope it’s like the other appearances and people show up,” she said, sipping champagne. “It’s a party and I always so appreciate people who show up for these appearances.”
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