Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O'Brien, P.C., Uniondale, NY
(Laureen Harris of counsel), for appellants.
Radler, LLP, Uniondale, NY (William M. Savino, Stephen J.
Smirti, Jr., and M. Paul Gorfinkel of counsel), for
WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P. JOHN M. LEVENTHAL ROBERT J. MILLER
VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Anthony
F. Marano, J.), entered July 3, 2015. The judgment, insofar
as appealed from, upon an oral decision of that court dated
January 8, 2015, declared that the defendants were authorized
to enact and enforce Nassau County Local Law 8-2013.
that the judgment is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with
2013, the defendant Nassau County Legislature adopted Nassau
County Local Law 8-2013 (see Nassau County
Administrative Code § 6-30.0; hereinafter Local Law
8-2013), which requires owners of designated income-producing
properties in Nassau County to file a statement setting forth
"all income derived from and all expenses attributable
to the operation of such property" (Nassau County
Administrative Code § 6-30.0[b]).
income and expense statements are intended to be used by the
defendant Nassau County Department of Assessment (hereinafter
the Department of Assessment) to assess the value of
income-producing property for the purposes of taxation. Under
Local Law 8-2013, landowners who fail to file a required
income and expense statement are subject to certain
enumerated penalties (see Nassau County
Administrative Code § 6-30.0[f]).
plaintiffs commenced this action against the County of
Nassau, the Department of Assessment, and the Nassau County
Legislature, arguing that the New York State Legislature had
not delegated the authority to prepare assessment rolls to
counties. The plaintiffs sought a declaration that Local Law
8-2013 was a "nullity" because the County lacked
the authority to pass local laws pertaining to the
preparation of assessment rolls.
oral decision issued on January 8, 2015, the Supreme Court
stated that "[u]nder the County Charter the County has
an obligation to assess all property situated in [Nassau]
County and liable to taxation." The court found that
"the Nassau County Charter provides that it's the
duty of the assessor to prepare the assessment rol[l]."
Supreme Court determined that the County had the authority to
require owners to file income and expense statements pursuant
to "both... the Municipal Home Rule Law and the Nassau
County Charter." The court concluded that Local Law
8-2013 was "not inconsistent with the New York State
Constitution [or] with any general law" and that it was
"a valid exercise of authority given to the County from
judgment entered July 3, 2015, upon the oral decision, the
Supreme Court declared, among other things, that the
defendants were authorized to enact and enforce Local Law
8-2013. The plaintiffs appeal, arguing that the State
Legislature had not expressly delegated to the County the
power to prepare assessments.
limited by the State and Federal Constitutions'
protection of individual rights and restriction of state
power, the State Constitution establishes the state
government as the preeminent sovereign of New York, and the
three coordinate branches of the state government may
exercise the entire legislative, executive and judicial power
of the State" (Matter of Baldwin Union Free Sch.
Dist. v County of Nassau, 22 N.Y.3d 606, 619;
see NY Const, art III, § 1; art IV, § 1;
that the authority of political subdivisions flows from the
state government and is, in a sense, an exception to the
state government's otherwise plenary power, the lawmaking
power of a county or other political subdivision can be
exercised only to the extent it has been delegated by the
State'" (Matter of Baldwin Union Free Sch. Dist.
v County of Nassau, 22 N.Y.3d at 619, quoting Albany
Area Bldrs. Assn. v Town of Guilderland, 74 N.Y.2d 372,
376; see Matter of Cohen v Board of Appeals of Vil. of
Saddle Rock, 100 N.Y.2d 395, 399-401).
the most significant delegation of state legislative
authority is embodied in article IX of the Constitution, the
home rule article" (Matter of Baldwin Union Free
Sch. Dist. v County of Nassau, 22 N.Y.3d at 620). That
article provides for the creation of local governmental
entities and grants certain powers to local governments