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IDA gives preliminary nod to tax breaks for bus company

The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency voted unanimously Thursday to give preliminary approval for tax breaks to a school bus company for a multimillion-dollar training facility and garage in Hempstead Village.

The IDA must now hold a public hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, before it can grant final approval for a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, as well as a sales tax exemption and a mortgage recording tax abatement.

Dell Transportation Inc. currently owns mostly vacant property on Main Street in the village and is in contract to swap it with Renaissance Downtowns for a property Renaissance owns on Kellum Place in Hempstead, said attorney Dan Deegan, who is representing Dell before the IDA. Deegan represents both Renaissance and Dell separately, but did not do so in their talks for the land swap.

Renaissance — the village’s master developer for part of its downtown revitalization plan — also would foot the bill for the construction of a training facility for Dell on Kellum Place as part of the deal, he said.

Dell sought the tax breaks from the IDA for the training facility and garage at Kellum Place in exchange for hiring 20 new full-time and seven new part-time employees, with “first preference” in hiring going to village residents, Deegan said.

While Dell originally asked for a 20-year PILOT for the project, IDA Chairman Arthur Nastre said “as a general rule, this board is opposed to PILOTs that are longer than 10 years.”

The project would cost more than $8 million to build both structures, Deegan said.

The vacant property is currently valued at $136,000, and its taxes are about $13,000, IDA documents show.

Under the proposed PILOT, Dell would pay $46,000 in its first year and the payments would rise to $162,000 in the 10th year. The property is expected to be worth more than $1.5 million by the end of construction, IDA documents show.

“It will not work unless we can get a PILOT from this IDA board,” Deegan said, noting the company could expand elsewhere on Long Island but would prefer to do this project in Hempstead.

Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan submitted a letter of support for the project. The mayor and two new trustees, including Charles Renfroe who spoke at the IDA meeting, campaigned earlier this year against residential PILOTs, but Renfroe said they are amenable to commercial tax breaks so more jobs will come into the village.

“I do know that we have to give a little to get a little,” Renfroe said.

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