To ensure that utilities pay their fair share of taxes on the properties they own, Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages (D – Lawrence) is sponsoring legislation that would require such entities to file annual income and expense statements for what they own and operate in Nassau County. Legislator Solages unveiled the proposal during a Monday, Aug. 8 press conference at the Legislature.
Filed on Wednesday, July 13, the measure has gained support from his Minority Caucus colleagues including co-sponsors Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D – Freeport), Nassau County Legislators Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove) and Arnold W. Drucker (D – Plainview), concerned community members and assessment experts such as former Nassau County Assessor David Moog.
Legislator Solages’ proposal would require utilities to disclose the use, age, and original and current cost of their generators, telecommunication lines and other real property within Nassau County. Utilities would also be required to itemize and disclose the real property they own and control in Nassau County; assets that have been retired during the reporting year; and property that is being added to the utility’s inventory or being built or improved.
Income and expense statements would be due by April 1 of each calendar year, and noncompliance would result in a fine of 0.25 percent of the fair market value of the property in question as determined by the Nassau County Assessor. If the utility fails to file by Sept. 30, the fine increases to 0.5 percent of fair market value; thereafter, if noncompliance continues into the next calendar year, the fine grows to 0.75 percent of fair market value.
By aiding in the production and maintenance of accurate assessments, the measure would also serve as a helpful tool for potentially averting future high-stakes disputes with utilities. School, library and fire districts are among the entities that are grappling with sudden and major revenue losses in the aftermath of the settlement of LIPA’s lawsuits regarding the assessed values of the E.F. Barrett Generation Station in Island Park and the Glenwood Generation Station in Sea Cliff.
“Taxpayers have been at LIPA’s mercy for far too long, and it is long past time to return the power to the people of Nassau County,” Legislator Solages said. “Requiring utilities to report their income and assets each year will give County assessors the data they need to deliver complete, accurate assessments and protect taxpayers from the burden of funding the operations of an unaccountable monopoly such as LIPA.”