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VOTE411 Voter Guide

District #5

CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Debra S. Mule (DEM, WFP, IND, WEP) Trustee, Village of Freeport

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    Kathleen A. Spatz (REP, CON) COMMUNITY LEADER

Change Candidates

Every candidate in every Nassau County election for decades says something like: “We must reform the unjust property tax system to provide businesses and homeowners with a transparent, fair and clear assessment program going forward.” And it never happens. Other than repeating the above, what is your specific plan for fixing this system that continues a debt burden for Nassau County.

Integrity, honesty, trustworthiness are all qualities we expect from our politicians, yet Nassau County has had several elected officials that have faced criminal charges. What specifically will you do to implement accountability, transparency, checks and balances, and proper oversight? What concrete steps will you take to re-build the public’s trust?

Having the financial resources to live in Nassau County is becoming increasingly difficult. What strategic plans do you have on the county level to support and partner with the various municipalities to create more affordable housing for young adults, working families and seniors?

Redistricting and gerrymandering affect the choice of candidates that voters elect to represent them. What are your views for setting up an independent redistricting commission for Nassau County for the drawing of lines after the 2020 census? If you agree with setting up an independent redistricting commission, how would you make it a reality in Nassau County? If you are not for an independent redistricting commission, why not?

The assessment mess has been an ongoing problem for Nassau County. There is currently a reassessment underway, but we need a long term solution to ensure that this does not continue to be a fiscal drain on the county. There have been staff cuts at the Department of Assessment, which have prevented the Department from functioning properly. These cuts were penny wise, but pound foolish. We need to re-staff the Department to ensure that we have accurate yearly assessments as originally planned. When the Department is functioning at full capacity, the assessments will be accurate and taxpayers will not need to grieve their taxes every year and the County will not have to issue millions of dollars in refunds.
It is vital that we rebuild the public trust in government here in Nassau County. As a county legislator, I would support the creation of an independent Inspector General and further oversight by the County Legislature of the often abused contracting process. In addition to these checks and balances, we also need to increase transparency by putting the County budget, contracts, and checkbook online. This will allow for increased citizen oversight of county operations.
Affordability is a major issue in Nassau County. As a Village Trustee in Freeport, we are overseeing the development of state of the art affordable housing, which is expected to serve as model for future affordable housing projects. I will take this experience to the county level to work with municipalities to identify funding mechanisms and design transit oriented development plans. In particular, I would work in partnership with the Town of Hempstead to further the Baldwin Downtown Redevelopment Project.
We absolutely need independent redistricting in Nassau County. Gerrymandered districts do not serve the constituents well, and lead to confusion and inefficiencies. In developing a bi-partisan commission, we need to ensure that there are equal numbers of seats for each party, rather than allowing the majority party to hold a controlling interest in the commission. Standards should be set for the commission that will prevent the use of partisan data and prioritize keeping municipalities and existing communities together.
The current Nassau County assessment system is the only County in the State that offers an opportunity to grieve your assessment on the Internet. The County has a step-by-step video to assist any resident that believes their home is unfairly assessed. This system is the most transparent in the State. Challenges remain and I will work diligently to make any improvements possible to this system
I have always held the philosophy elected officials must have no questions as to their governmental and ethical responsibilities. The Republican Legislators have advanced legislation that dramatically enhanced public disclosures. They have utilized technology to live stream meetings, have posted notices and agendas on the Nassau County website. All of these additions represent a tremendous leap in transparency and access. I will continue to study and see where improvements or additions are possible.
My hope would be that maintaining property taxes and school taxes would aid in more affordable housing for young adults, working families and seniors.
Redistricting in Nassau County is required by the U.S. Constitution and the County’s Charter. I would not agree to an independent redistricting commission, to me this adds another level of government.

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