A Nassau County legislator has invited Valley Stream school representatives and local elected officials and local politicians to a meeting on Jan. 5 to discuss tax breaks granted to the Green Acres Mall.
In a Dec. 26 letter, Legis. C. William Gaylor III (R-Lynbrook) invited the officials “for the purpose of discussing the return of approximately $3,000,000 in tax dollars raised in connection with the Green Acres” payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT.
“Each of us have expressed our displeasure with the additional tax burden the Green Acres PILOT represents to our constituency and we have before us an opportunity to substantially reduce the financial impact of this transaction,” Gaylor wrote. “Let’s get it done!”
The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency two years ago granted tax breaks to the mall’s owner, California-based Macerich. Valley Stream taxpayers and elected officials said the move resulted in steep school tax increases earlier this year — an allegation the IDA disputes. Agency officials said several factors resulted in the tax hikes, including school budgeting practices.
Three school districts — 30, 24 and 13 — feed into the village’s central high school district. The mall is located in District 30, and the district receives about half of the PILOT money. The other half goes to the central high school district.
School officials have said the IDA did not tell them how much of the PILOT money they would receive, so they estimated it at 50 percent based on previous agreements. But the number was actually 72.7 percent, meaning schools officials under-budgeted by nearly $3 million, which is split between District 30 and the central high school district.
District 30 officials have said the estimate was made in good faith and any excess money will be returned to residents through a “reduced tax levy” for the 2017-18 school year.
Neither Gaylor nor his representatives immediately responded to requests for comment.
The Jan. 5 meeting is to be held at 10:30 a.m. at the William L. Buck School in Valley Stream.
The IDA is to hold a public meeting on Jan. 19 at the Robert W. Carbonaro School in Valley Stream to hear residents’ concerns about the tax breaks. While the IDA board cannot revoke the tax breaks during that event, it has reopened the case and might do so as early as its meeting on Jan. 26. Experts have said revoking the tax breaks might not be legal, barring any errors.