Why is it that for a St. Patrick's Day or Christmas parade, people of the town will turn out in force to watch?

On Memorial Day, people cannot be bothered to come out and witness a parade that honors those brave men and women of our military who gave their all.

I remember when people used to come out starting at 8 a.m. to get a good spot to watch the Memorial Day parade. The town was lined with people five and six deep. Now, everyone is too busy.

We forget what the day is really about. How many of us stop for a moment and say a silent prayer of thanks that we live in America and enjoy the freedoms we do? How many of us have a relative or a friend who died for those freedoms?

Louis Baer, East Moriches

Editor's note: The writer is the commander of VFW Post 414 in Center Moriches.
 

Schools suffer over IDA tax breaks

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Since 2012, two large apartment complexes have begun construction in Mineola. Both received tax abatements from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency. This happened at the same time as the 2 percent property tax cap law was enacted.

A third apartment complex is in the approval process. It has passed the Mineola Village Board and is headed for an application for tax abatements in the form of a PILOT agreement -- payments in lieu of taxes -- from the Nassau IDA. Through our research, we've determined that the Mineola school district's first-year loss from this latest proposal will be about $403,000 because the increased value from the buildings won't be added to our district's tax base.

The district's combined losses from these three properties is about $30 million over 20 years. Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that these new complexes are residential, which could lead to more students enrolling in the district with no way for us to raise additional revenue within the tax cap.

Certainly when the tax cap law was enacted, this was not a concern, since only in unusual circumstances would IDAs be expected to offer tax abatements to residential construction, which doesn't generate permanent jobs. That trend seems to have shifted dramatically of late.

An excerpt from the New York State Economic Development Council states that the purpose of IDAs is to promote industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, commercial, research and recreation facilities, and "thereby advance the job opportunities, health, general prosperity and economic welfare."

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The tax cap law must be amended to exempt tax-abated projects from the tax cap and to include buildings from 2012 on, when the tax cap law was enacted.

Arthur Barnett, Mineola

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Mineola school board.
 

Wanted: Veterans to hire

Where have all the soldiers gone? We are in the scrap metal recycling business and employ more than 60 people. Being an ex-Marine, I've been trying to find service veterans to hire. I have contacted the local Marine headquarters, along with Wounded Warriors and the American Legion. We spoke to the United Veterans Beacon House and have had no luck.

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Bill Goldkind, St. James

Editor's note: The writer is the president of Crestwood Metal Corp. in Holbrook.