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Assessments Explained

Getting ahead of the upcoming spring tax and school budget season, the Levittown Community Council welcomed Donald X. Clavin, Jr., receiver of taxes for the Town of Hempstead, to speak to the group at its monthly meeting on Jan. 28 at Levittown Memorial. Clavin spoke to attendees about understanding your property taxes as well as how to grieve your assessment. 

“It’s your right to challenge your assessment,” he said. “The worst that can happen is that your assessment stays exactly the same.”

Clavin told the group that due to Hurricane Sandy, the town has decided to extend the filing period for challenging assessments to May 1 this year instead of the usual March 1. 

Clavin also told the group that although they can hire an attorney to help challenge your assessment, it’s not necessary. “It does require a little legwork on your part, but you can do it yourself,” he said, and he noted that doing so would also save money. 

In order to challenge assessments, Clavin said, homeowners need to fill out an application and then find three homes within a quarter-mile of theirs, as well as ones that are in the same school district, that have sold for less than theirs within 12 months. 

However, there are some variables. “Bedrooms, bathrooms and square-footage are the keys to making sure that you get the right assessment, so you will need to pick a house that is similar to yours,” he said. “Being in Levittown is great, though, because there are so many different types of homes in the area.” If you can’t find three homes that were sold, he said that homeowners could go online and do a Nassau County property search and see what homes like theirs are assessed at. “You can use the county’s town data against them when it comes to challenging your assessment. See what the county thinks those houses are worth versus what the county says your home is worth,” he said. Any combination of sales and county assessments will do when it comes to supporting your argument, he said. However, said Clavin, foreclosures and short sales are not accepted when it comes to challenging the assessment of your home. 

Clavin also told the group that if their challenge is denied, they are entitled to take the claim to small claims court for a small fee, which many of the attorneys are doing, in order to have a judge make an independent ruling. 

“That’s why it is important to have your own evidence to support your challenge, because at the end of the day, a judge will sit down and go over all of the documents you gave him, so you have to be able to give him proof of your claim.”

Although Clavin didn’t go in-depth about exemptions, he did remind the group to apply for the Veteran’s, senior citizen and enhanced STAR tax discounts. “Even though the Governor put his 2 percent tax levy cap in place on the schools, 2 percent is a lot of money to people, especially when you haven’t had a raise or a job for a number of years. Every bit helps,” he said. 

News

U.S. Air Force Veteran Mario Dell’aera, 80, of Levittown said he first volunteered for service in 1952, during the Korean War.

 

“They called volunteers ‘regulars,’” he said, reflecting back to when he first enlisted.

 

From 1952-1956, Dell’era called the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev. home. The base, he said, operated 24 hours, 7 days a week, training pilots to fly overseas into Korea.

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com