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Hempstead IDA approves tax breaks for school bus company project

The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously to grant tax incentives to a school bus company in Hempstead Village to build a training facility and a garage despite some community opposition to the plan.

The IDA on Thursday approved a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, or PILOT, as well as a sales tax exemption and a mortgage-recording tax abatement, for Dell Transportation Inc.

The training facility and parking garage — which, combined, are to cost more than $8 million to build — will be located at what’s currently vacant land on Kellum Place in Hempstead, IDA officials said. The bus company will add 27 employees, with first preference in hiring for village residents, in exchange for the tax incentives.

“We believe this project will promote, attract and encourage further commercial development in the village, bolster the economy of the village, will not place any burden on the school district and will only have a minor effect on village and town municipal services and infrastructure,” IDA board chairman Arthur Nastre said, reading a statement during Thursday’s IDA board meeting.

The land is currently valued at $136,000, with taxes at $13,000, officials said. The PILOT begins at $46,000 in the first year and the payments rise to $162,500 in the 10th year. Dell had originally asked for a 20-year PILOT, but the IDA rejected that plan.

Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan supports the agreement. He had campaigned against PILOTs for residential projects, instead saying he wants to see more commercial and light industry in the village.

“It is a project that will bring careers, not just temporary jobs, to the local village residents,” Ryan said at a public hearing for the project on Sept. 14.

But several members of the community opposed the plan during the public hearing, according to a transcript of the hearing, saying the village has too many PILOTs already.

“Our tax base has been destroyed by all these PILOTs,” Terry Winston said at the hearing. “There is no justification for this additional PILOT.”

The Kellum Place land is owned by Renaissance Downtowns, the village’s master developer for its downtown revitalization project. Dell and Renaissance will swap the Kellum Place property for land on Main Street, officials have said, and Renaissance will pay for the training facility’s construction.

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