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Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio indicates land bank support

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio

Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio (Credit: Handout, 2011)

Tossing aside his earlier skepticism, Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio Thursday said he would ask the town board to support Suffolk County’s plan to create a land bank for blighted, tax-delinquent properties.

Earlier this month, Vecchio had expressed concern that Smithtown would lose about $80,000 annually in compensation from the county if two contaminated sites in Kings Park joined the land bank.

But after hearing a presentation by county officials, Vecchio said he would schedule a vote to back the land bank at a town board meeting Thursday night.

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The town board approved, 4-0, a resolution indicating it supports the bank. Councilman Thomas McCarthy did not attend the meeting.

The county is seeking approval from the Empire State Development Corporation, a state agency, for a nonprofit land bank that would take title to as many as 124 parcels that collectively owe more than $28 million in county, municipal and school district taxes.

Backers say the bank would return the parcels to the tax rolls by selling them to new owners.

County officials are facing a Jan. 30 deadline to submit the application to the ESDC.

The towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, East Hampton, Huntington, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold have said they support the bank.

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