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Hempstead Town IDA approves tax breaks for two projects for a second time

Hempstead Town IDA chairman Florestano Girardi leads Thursday's

Hempstead Town IDA chairman Florestano Girardi leads Thursday's meeting. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency voted Thursday to re-approve two projects in Hempstead Village in light of a village trustee's concerns.

The agency had previously approved tax incentives for FDR Services Corp., a commercial laundry, and Dell Transportation Inc., a bus company, but had not finalized the deals. The IDA's vote to re-approve a third Hempstead Village project, Garden City Mazda, was tabled.

The new votes occurred because Hempstead Village trustee Jeffery Daniels questioned the legality of the prior votes on the three projects. State law requires Hempstead Village and Freeport to appoint their own members to the town's IDA and states the appointees "shall include at least one member of such village's governing body and at least three at large members drawn from a cross section of the village community."

He said the earlier votes did not include a member of the village board — just community members and the village assessor — and therefore were invalid. Village trustee LaMont Johnson has since joined the IDA board.

"We did it to ensure that there would not be a lawsuit," IDA chief executive Fred Parola said of the revotes. 

Garden City Mazda's vote was tabled 6-1, with board member Jack Majkut voting against the move. Daniels said that he didn't see a benefit for the village — though other officials have touted the dealership's proposed apprenticeship program with Hempstead High School. Daniels also said that the village can't afford to give it tax breaks.

The dealership's attorney, Dan Baker, said any issues were addressed at previous meetings and a public hearing before the initial vote. 

"Without the benefits, this project will not go forward," Baker said, declining to comment further after the meeting.

The IDA board passed FDR's project 6-1, with Johnson voting against it. The IDA and FDR had come under fire previously because the union representing its workers has alleged unfair labor practices and inflated employment figures. IDA officials have said they are not required to investigate labor issues and that they confirmed the employment figures were accurate.

Dell Transportation Inc.'s vote was unanimous.

The IDA expects to close the deal for FDR next week but a time frame for Dell hasn't been set yet. 

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