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Revoke Green Acres Mall tax break, Nassau legislator says

Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) made a final plea on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, to the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency to overturn tax breaks granted to the Green Acres Mall, on the eve of the agency's decision. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages made a final plea Wednesday to the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency to overturn tax breaks to the Green Acres Mall on the eve of the agency’s decision.

“We’re asking the Town of Hempstead IDA to do the right thing and revoke” the tax breaks, Solages (D-Elmont) said at a news conference outside the Robert W. Carbonaro School in Valley Stream. “This is our final demand, our final pitch.”

About 10 residents, some holding signs, attended the news conference, as well as Valley Stream School District 24 Superintendent Ed Fale.

The IDA at Thursday’s meeting is to decide whether to revoke the tax breaks to the Green Acres Mall, owned by California-based Macerich, according to the agency’s agenda.

The tax breaks for the renovation of the mall and the construction of the adjacent Green Acres Commons were granted in December 2014 by a previous IDA board. The agreement’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, has been blamed for increased taxes for Valley Stream homeowners, but IDA officials say school budgeting practices are also at fault.

School officials have said they were not told their percentage of the PILOT, leading them to underestimate their portion and pass the discrepancy on to the taxpayers.

The tax breaks, the IDA and Valley Stream School District 30 are being audited by the state Comptroller’s office and the Nassau County comptroller.

IDA members have acknowledged that revoking the tax breaks would likely prompt litigation.

District 30 resident Sherman Rothblum, 95, said Wednesday that his taxes went up about $1,200 as a result of the mall PILOT.

“I was lucky I have the money but I can’t keep paying increases,” he said after the news conference. “If they revoke it, I don’t think we’ll get our money back.”

The IDA meeting is to start at 9 a.m. at Hempstead Town Hall.

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