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Hempstead IDA to vote on revoking Green Acres Mall tax break

Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, Thursday, Oct.

Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency will vote next week on whether to revoke controversial tax breaks given to the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.

Board members have considered revoking the payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, granted in December 2014 to the mall’s owner, California-based Macerich.

Residents and politicians have called for the revoking of the tax breaks amid scrutiny of soaring tax bills for Valley Stream residents. Next week’s vote listed on the agenda for the IDA meeting.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is auditing the deal, which was approved by the former IDA to determine what may have caused taxes to rise.

Former IDA members approved tax breaks for Macerich as part of $79 million in renovations to the mall and for the construction of the adjacent Green Acres Commons shopping plaza.

Residents said their 2016 tax bills stemming from the deal increased by up to 12.2 percent.

The current IDA board considering the revocation said that the mall was not solely responsible for the tax hikes. Developers have pointed to budgeting practices of Valley Stream School District 30, which they said caused taxes to increase.

School officials said they underbudgeted their estimate of the mall’s payments by $3 million because they were not aware of how much they would receive.

IDA officials did not immediately comment on what direction the board may take during its April 27 meeting.

IDA members have not promised any refunds to residents and said by reversing the tax breaks, it would almost certainly open the IDA to litigation with the developer.

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