Malverne Village has to pay back more than $700,000 to Long Island American Water after the company successfully disputed an assessment on its properties that resulted in excess taxes being paid over a period of 14 years.
Officials at Wednesday night's village board meeting said they had resolved American Water's tax certiorari claim for more than $1.3 million. The village will refund $722,612 to American Water, which from now on will pay $110,000 a year in village taxes, about $90,000 less than before, officials said.
"We're very fortunate to get the deal that we got," said Mayor Patricia Norris-McDonald, adding the agreement had been signed by a Nassau County Supreme Court judge earlier Wednesday. "We could have just threw in the hat or whatever, but we did what was right."
Long Island American Water contested tax assessments from Malverne, 11 other villages, Hempstead Town and Nassau County with the state Public Service Commission in 1999. In response, village officials said they contested the tax certiorari claim filed in an effort to reduce the tax refund and protect the going-forward assessment since the water company proposed a 75 percent reduction in assessed value.
"This case is still pending . . . so we can't comment on it," American Water president William Varley said Thursday. "The bulk of the money usually goes back to the ratepayers."
Village officials said they conducted a confidential negotiation over 31/2 years, both in and out of court. The village also spent $77,000 hiring experts to dispute the claim, officials said.
Deputy Mayor Joseph Hennessy said the refund to the water company will result in a tax increase next year.