The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency will hold a public meeting in Valley Stream on Jan. 19 to hear residents’ concerns about tax breaks granted to the Green Acres Mall.
The tax breaks, approved by the IDA two years ago for the mall’s California-based owner, Macerich, have come under fire in recent months. Valley Stream residents and politicians say that the tax breaks increased their school property taxes, although the IDA maintains that other issues are also to blame, including school budgeting practices.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Robert W. Carbonaro School in Valley Stream, IDA board chairman Arthur Nastre said during the agency’s meeting on Wednesday. Nastre said the IDA had trouble obtaining a venue for the meeting because several Valley Stream organizations turned them down for liability concerns before School District 24 agreed to the use of its school.
Nastre said the IDA board wants to hear from residents before it makes a decision on whether to revoke the Green Acres Mall deal.
The mall’s tax breaks were granted by a previous IDA board, the members of which resigned en masse last month in the face of threats by the Hempstead Town board to fire them.
The new members organized next month’s public meeting.
While the IDA board cannot make a decision at the Jan. 19 meeting about the tax breaks, Nastre said “the very fact that we’re having it is an indication that we’re not happy with it.”
Experts have said they don’t know if revoking tax breaks — without any errors — is legal. Nastre said Macerich might sue the IDA, but pointed out that Hempstead Town officials have already threatened a lawsuit if the tax breaks were not rescinded.
“Either way, we’re anticipating a lawsuit,” Nastre said.
Meanwhile, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos filed a petition on Monday with the state Supreme Court in Mineola seeking to compel the IDA and the town’s supervisor and clerk to comply with subpoenas for his audit of the Green Acres deal.
The IDA believes Maragos does not have the authority to audit the agency, but it has offered to sit down with auditors. IDA officials say there are too many documents to drop off at the comptroller’s office.
However, Maragos, who is running for county executive, said he wants the documents delivered to his office.