The Hempstead Industrial Development Authority’s tax breaks to the Green Acres Mall and Green Acres Commons in Valley Stream
WHAT WE KNOW
- The Town of Hempstead’s Industrial Development Agency approved tax breaks for Macerich, the California-based owner of the Green Acres Mall, in December 2014 and April 2015. The agreement included a sales-tax exemption and a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, for the renovation of the Valley Stream mall and the construction of the Green Acres Commons, an adjacent shopping center.
- In October 2016, Valley Stream taxpayers found increases in their school property taxes of as much as 12.2 percent. Homeowners and elected officials blamed the mall’s tax breaks.
- A Newsday analysis found that the Valley Stream Central High School District and District 30 underbudgeted their portions of the PILOT agreement by nearly $3 million, passing along the difference to taxpayers. District officials have said they were forced to guess their percentage of the PILOT, although IDA officials maintain school officials were told what their amount would be.
- In October, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino planned to seek the removal of the IDA board over the controversy, but six of seven members resigned the day before the town board was scheduled to vote.
- Five new IDA members, appointed by Santino and the town board, began serving in November and promised to consider revoking the mall’s tax breaks. A seventh member was appointed in February, and one member resigned in May.
- The tax breaks are being audited by the state and county comptrollers’ offices.
- In a 5-0 vote, with one abstention and one recusal, the IDA board voted in April to rescind the deal, citing an alleged lack of job creation. Macerich has called the revocation “invalid” and a “blatant violation” of its rights, and on Tuesday, asked a state Supreme Court judge to impose a temporary restraining order halting the IDA’s move to revoke the tax breaks. The judge agreed and granted the order. Both sides are due back in court on July 27.