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Green Acres Mall’s tax breaks under scrutiny from NY lawmakers

Stores at Green Acres Commons, a newly built

Stores at Green Acres Commons, a newly built retail center adjacent to the mall. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Two state lawmakers have asked the state comptroller to audit the tax breaks given to the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream by the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency.

The tax breaks for the mall, owned by the California-based Macerich, have resulted in tax increases for residents in Valley Stream school districts 30, 24 and 13 of, on average, between $322 and $758 this year.

The town’s IDA, in December 2014, granted the mall a sales-tax exemption of $6 million, a mortgage-recording tax exemption, and an agreement for a payment in lieu of taxes on its planned $79 million renovation to the approximately 1.7 million-square-foot mall.

Two years later, the tax bill has come due for residents and they, as well as several elected officials, are not happy.

In late September, the Hempstead Town Board sent a letter to the IDA demanding that it revisit its decision. And last week, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) held a news conference to protest the tax breaks and start a petition.

But the IDA’s executive director, Fred Parola, told Newsday that the deal cannot legally be changed.

In response, Kaminsky and Solages wrote a letter to state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, requesting an audit of the payment in lieu of taxes agreement.

“Not only will this harm already overtaxed residents, but importantly, we feel that proper procedures were not followed by the IDA and therefore the PILOT was improperly awarded,” the lawmakers wrote.

The legislators said their constituents were not notified about the tax hikes until recently, though Parola said the IDA followed proper protocol and held two meetings in the village. He said no one showed up.

There will be a meeting of District 24’s Board of Education on Oct. 19 at the William L. Buck School to discuss the issue.

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