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Hempstead Village Board to vote May 21 on tax-break deal

The Village of Hempstead.

The Village of Hempstead. (Credit: J.C. Cherubini, 2011)

The Hempstead Village Board on Tuesday night put off making a decision about revoking a tax-break deal with the owner of a 112-unit apartment building, after receiving several complaints from tenants about poor living conditions, lack of security and drug activity.

The board held a public hearing Tuesday on rescinding the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement made in 2003 with Garden City-based Rivoli Redevelopment Co. Llc, which owns Rivoli House, at 40-44 W. Columbia St. Rivoli paid about $115,000 less in taxes this fiscal year due to the tax break, village officials said.

“One thing the village has is a lot of PILOTs,” said Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr., referring to the fact that properties comprising nearly a third of the village’s assessed value do not pay any taxes. “When you give it to apartment buildings, they don’t create jobs.”

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Deputy village attorney Herbert Tamres said village officials are considering canceling the deal with Rivoli — an action officials say would be a first for the village — on the basis that Rivoli might have violated the state’s private housing finance law. The law requires a property owner to supply “decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing, with primary attention given to rental housing for very low-income persons,” Tamres said.

Rivoli attorney Michael Faltischek, of Uniondale, called the allegations “serious” and said property manager Manhattan-based Related Management Co. has addressed complaints. He added that there is security and a superintendent on the premises.

“If taxes would end up being more, then rents would go up,” Faltischek said. “There is not a justifiable issue to take away the PILOT.”

The board is expected to vote on May 21 on rescinding the PILOT.

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