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Nassau IDA approves tax breaks for Honda service center

The Nassau County IDA approved tax breaks for

The Nassau County IDA approved tax breaks for Sollecito Realty Co. LLC to build Honda of Valley Stream's new service center on this and another empty parcel on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream. The vote was approved on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, despite opposition from Valley Stream school districts on any new incentives involving payment in lieu of taxes. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency granted tax breaks Wednesday night for a new Honda service center in Valley Stream, despite opposition from the local school districts.

Sollecito Realty Co. LLC received a three-year freeze in taxes to build a $6.7 million service center on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream during the IDA’s meeting on Wednesday.

After the three-year freeze at the current rate of $262,605, the company’s payment in lieu of taxes, known as PILOT, will increase incrementally each year for nine years, reaching $367,187 in the final year.

Had the company not gotten the tax incentives, its East Meadow-based attorney Daniel Baker said, the owners — who are required by Honda to build a new service center — would have been forced to construct it outside Nassau County. Honda of Valley Stream’s current service center, at 750 W. Merrick Rd., is in disrepair and cannot be renovated, Baker said.

“They want to keep the facility in Valley Stream and Nassau County,” he said.

The village’s school districts oppose any new PILOTs in Valley Stream after a recent controversy over tax breaks granted by the Hempstead Town IDA to the owner of the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.

Valley Stream school districts 13, 24 and 30 and the central high school district, along with taxpayers and elected officials blame the mall’s tax incentives for increased school taxes this fall. The town’s IDA, however, says school budgeting practices and other factors played a role in the tax hikes.

Baker, who also represents the Valley Stream mall before the town IDA, said the Honda tax breaks will not negatively affect the school districts or taxpayers. He also said it’s possible that the Honda application received more attention because it’s also in Valley Stream.

“I think the community is, as a whole, more aware of IDA applications in general,” he said.

Joseph J. Kearney, the county IDA’s executive director, said the additional attention to the project did not factor into the decision to grant the tax incentives.

The Honda service center and a welcome center will be built on two empty parcels at 364-370 and 396 W. Merrick Rd., Baker said. At least eight permanent jobs will be created, in addition to about 40 construction jobs.

The company also received a sales tax exemption capped at $301,875 and a mortgage-recording tax abatement of $67,200 from the IDA. The benefits were approved unanimously by the IDA board.

The Honda dealership previously received tax breaks for its showroom, office and car lot on Sunrise Highway in Valley Stream in 2015.

The Nassau County IDA has granted tax breaks to five automobile dealerships in recent years — three of which are in Valley Stream, including the Honda dealership’s showroom — mostly using a tourism exception to the 2013 state law that bars tax incentives for retailers.

With James T. Madore

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