The Massapequa School District was on the winning side of this week's state court decision which shifts the burden of paying for tax assessment errors back to Nassau County, but school officials aren't sure that the battle is over.
“We are cautiously optimistic that this is a positive step in the right direction for school districts," said deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock, who handles budget issues for the district. "However Nassau County may decide to appeal the decision for a third time.”
The Nassau County legislature voted in 2010 to repeal the "County guarantee" which made Nassau County responsible for paying out tax refunds for assessment errors.
Massapequa joined other districts in filing a lawsuit against the move and came out on the losing end of a lower court decision.
But an appellate court ruled that the guantee was added to the county administrative code by a special state law and the county doesn't have power to repeal it. Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli said they will appeal.
Larry Greenstein, who serves on the executive committee of the Nassau-Suffolk School Board Association, also praised the decision.
“The school districts will not have to pay for the county's inability to process certiorari claims on a timely basis,” Greenstein said.. “The county is charged with assessing properties and school districts use tax information in good faith to set a tax levy. I am pleased that the justices are not penalizing us for their failure to properly assess property values and settle claims in a timely matter.”
Adina Genn contributed to this report.