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Nassau IDA mulls tax breaks for Valley Stream Honda service center

Nassau County IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney

Nassau County IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney speaks during a public hearing on proposed tax breaks for Valley Stream Honda owner Sollecito Realty Co., which wants to build a new, $7.5 million service center. The meeting was held at Valley Stream Village Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency is considering a request to temporarily freeze taxes for a Valley Stream Honda service center.

Valley Stream Honda owner Sollecito Realty Co. is asking the IDA to freeze taxes for three years to help build a new $7.5 million service center on a one-acre lot at 396 W. Merrick Rd. After that period, the proposed schedule would increase taxes by 2 percent each year for the next nine years.

The agency held a public hearing last week on the proposed tax payment in lieu of taxes, known as a PILOT. IDA officials have said they will continue to collect public comment on the project and a vote for tax benefits has not been set.

Sollecito is seeking to relocate its existing Merrick Road service center, which the company said has become obsolete. The Valley Stream dealership is also required to be upgraded by the corporate Honda Co., said Dan Baker, an attorney for Sollecito.

Baker said the tax breaks would not reduce any taxes for the Honda dealership, but stagger payments over 12 years.

Honda is seeking benefits from the IDA under a tourism provision to attract business from Queens. Officials said if benefits are not granted, the company would likely be forced to relocate to Queens.

“If approved, this will not increase taxes for anyone in the area or the school district,” Baker said.

The proposal for tax benefits would freeze current taxes at $262,605. They would increase by more than $100,000 by the 12th year, for a total of $3.6 million in tax payments, which would include payments to the school districts and village during the lifetime of the project.

The application also requests $301,000 in sales tax benefits and $67,200 in benefits from mortgage recording tax. The project would add about 40 construction jobs and 10 new permanent jobs. The company would add to the 26-person, predominantly union workforce.

“There has been no determination on the project by the Nassau County IDA,” IDA executive director Joseph J. Kearney said during the hearing. “It is not the policy of this IDA to reduce taxes from their current level.”

The hearing drew about 25 residents of the community, which saw taxes rise sharply following tax breaks granted in 2014 by the separate Hempstead Town IDA in 2014. The state comptroller is now auditing the Hempstead IDA and Valley Stream School District 30 after the Green Acres Mall was granted tax breaks on $79 million in renovations to the mall and an adjacent commons project.

The three Valley Stream School Districts, 13, 24 and 30, said they were opposed to any new PILOTs in the community until legislation regarding tax breaks is changed.

“There is an unintended consequence of any PILOT on taxpayers,” Valley Stream District 24 Superintendent Ed Fale said. “Until that changes, we have to act firmly against any PILOTs.”

The IDA previously granted the same tax breaks to the Valley Stream Honda showroom.

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