LI HERALD: Receiver of Taxes: collecting, dispersing money

The Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the office that collects taxes for 99 special districts and 33 school districts, and disburses the money without charge. Its other functions include billing and collection processes, banking, record maintenance, mail and accounting functions. The department also collects Nassau County taxes on properties within the town borders.

Donald X. Clavin Jr. has been the receiver of taxes since February 2001, having been re-elected by wide margins ever since. The position is a four-year term.

Clavin earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Canisus College in Buffalo and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Hofstra University School of Law. He was a trial attorney practicing in all New York courts, as well as the United States Federal district courts. He worked in the Office of the Nassau County Attorney as Deputy County Attorney. In that position, he was responsible for defending various agencies of government, ranging from the Department of General Services to the Nassau County Police Department. Clavin then entered the private sector and went on to defend various corporations including Home Depot and General Motors.

Since becoming Receiver of Taxes, Clavin has created two satellite tax offices in Lawrence and Hicksville, in addition to extending office hours during the tax payment seasons. He uses Hempstead Town’s Mobile Town Hall to collect taxes and address the concerns of town residents. He has also implemented email and text message reminder programs to help taxpayers make timely payments. Taxpayers can now pay their tax bills by credit card or e-check, online or by phone. Clavin also created the first taxpayer drive-thru payment window in New York State.

Clavin said that he worked to successfully to urge former Gov. George Pataki to sign an executive order that extended time for tax payments for those families affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

In 2011, he successfully obtained state legislation to allow for future e-tax bills and e-tax receipts for residents. The Herald asked Clavin about his job and why he is seeking re-election to the position of Receiver of Taxes:

Herald: Why are you running for re-election?

Donald Clavin: Being Receiver of Taxes is a job that I truly love, and I am fortunate to be among the few that actually look forward to going into work each day. I’ve been able to make several improvements and be a voice for my neighbors, but I still have more ideas on how we can continue to improve our government.

H: What can the Receiver of Taxes do to serve its constituents well?

DC: Since taking office, I’ve been dedicated to enhancing services while reducing operating costs. I take the approach that paying taxes is not something people enjoy — but I want to make the experience as convenient as possible. To accomplish this, I have utilized technology to accept electronic credit card payments, set up an email reminder system, created two satellite offices and a mobile tax office to assist residents who are unable to visit our main office, and I opened the very first drive-thru tax payment window in New York State.

H: Why are you the best person for this position?

DC: I have demonstrated my ability to take initiative in not only improving office operations, but also helping our local residents find ways to lower their tax bills. Whether it is obtaining new laws to protect residents who have been taken advantage of by their mortgage lenders, or leveraging technology to save money, residents know that I will continue to fight for them.

H: You’ve been in this position for many years. What is the best part about your job?

DC: What I truly enjoy most is when residents take the time to stop me at the grocery store or out in the community and let me know they attended one of my community tax forum meetings and used my advice to help lower their Nassau County Assessment or obtain a money saving tax exemption.

After repeated attempts, Clavin’s Democratic opponent, Gina Arcabascio, could not be reached for comment.

 

By: Mary Malloy

Source: Long Island Herald

September 30, 2015