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Hempstead IDA approves tax incentives for Garden City Mazda

The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency voted Thursday to approve tax incentives for Garden City Mazda in Hempstead Village despite opposition from some village trustees and community members.

The vote was 6-2-1. IDA board vice chairman James Marsh voted against it, as did LaMont Johnson, a village trustee who also serves on the IDA board for projects within the village. Stacey Hargraves, another board member from Hempstead village, abstained.

The IDA board had voted in March to approve the tax incentives for the car dealership — which has promised to develop an apprenticeship program with Hempstead High School students — but decided to vote again on the project and two others after village trustee Jeffery Daniels  claimed that without having a representative from the village board of trustees sitting on the IDA board, the previous votes violated state law and were invalid.

The IDA board passed the other two projects — FDR Services Corp., a commercial laundry, and Dell Transportation Inc., a bus company — again in June, after Johnson was appointed to the IDA board. The vote on the Mazda dealership was tabled at the time.

Daniel Baker, the dealership's attorney, has said that the proposed construction of a new dealership, at 225 North Franklin St., and the demolition of the current one, at 209 North Franklin St., could not proceed without the IDA benefits.

Johnson said Thursday that the tax breaks are "taking advantage of the disadvantaged" village residents. Daniels, who does not serve on the IDA board, also opposed the project.

Jack Majkut, a labor representative on the IDA board, touted the apprenticeship program and called it "an asset to the community."

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