With Nassau County, New York finances in, shall we say, difficult shape, leadership scours its income statement for ways to increase income and lower expenses!
And, because most everything always comes down to politics, any potential solution needs to be positioned and ultimately implemented in such a way as to make the fewest number of voters angry.
It’s a juggling act that can certainly be difficult to achieve and will often include one-time sources of revenue along with fiscal smoke and mirrors that may make the current year finances seem better while doing little to actually address the long-term financial problem!
This brings me to the point of this article which is to look at some of the low-hanging fruit offering Nassau County government the ability to raise cash through fees that offer those on whom the added expenses are being levied no choice but to comply and pay.
Nassau County Money Grab? The Tax Map Verification Letter
In an article at Hallmark Abstract Service written back in January 2015 (New Nassau County, New York Recording Fees (Taxes)), the new real estate fee was summarized…
‘Due to the implementation of the Department of Assessment’s Tax Map certification requirement, effective Wednesday, January 14th, 2015, all deeds, mortgages, satisfactions, assignments, consolidations, or any modification of the foregoing, must have their Section, Block and Lot verified with the Department of Assessment prior to presenting the instrument for recording in the Clerk’s office. Instruments presented without the Department of Assessment certification page cannot be accepted for recording.
There will be a charge of $75 per tax map verification letter (“TMVL”) and each document presented for recording will need its own TMVL.
The fee for the TMVL is being waived until March 1, 2015 but the letters must be submitted beginning now.
Documents that are exempt from the $75 fee include Powers of Attorney, Map Filings, Building Loan Agreements, Release of State Tax liens, and UCCs.‘
‘…Nassau is, for the second time in two years, proposing to significantly raise fees, including for mortgage recording (which would double, to $300) and tax map verification (which would triple, to $225).‘ (Newsday)
To be clear if a transaction requires the recording of a deed and a mortgage, a separate tax map verification letter is required to be filed with both of those documents.
The fee, as mentioned in the quote from Newsday above, is incredibly proposed to increase from a cost of $75 for each of those accompanying two tax map verification letters, to $225.
And why is it, you may may be asking yourself, can’t one letter be copied and used for whatever number of documents are being recorded rather than having to spend $75 now and soon $225 for each one?
The simple answer of course is REVENUE!
Here is what this document, pulled from existing County records, looks like:
Because there is no choice but to pay these fees and the number of people affected is somewhat small, this proposed 200% increase will for the most part go unnoticed and unchallenged by the masses.
The question is, however, if future finances remain under pressure in Nassau County where will these increases end and what other revenue sources will continue to rise at excessive rates (i.e. property taxes)?
That my friends, is a very good question!
And finally, this issue is certainly not unique to this one county!
Article by Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.Google+