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Sandy victims to get fees waived for repairs, new construction

Nassau legislators Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) and Steve Rhoads

Nassau legislators Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) and Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore) announce the passage of legislation extending the time period to waive county fees for Sandy victims charged by county departments on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Superstorm Sandy victims will not have to pay county fees for home repairs or new construction through the end of 2017, under a bill passed Monday by Nassau County legislators.

The measure, passed unanimously, extends the period for the county to waive fees for residents whose homes were damaged in the 2012 storm.

They include $1,200 in combined Department of Public Work fees to disconnect and reconnect sewer lines; a $250 Department of Health charge for pre-demolition building inspection and a $300 fee to record properties with the County Clerk’s Office.

Legis. Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore), the bill’s lead sponsor, said many homeowners still need to make Sandy-related repairs and want to elevate their properties.

“We have not forgotten about Hurricane Sandy residents,” said Rhoades.

Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), a Democratic co-sponsor, said the measure “can make it a little bit easier for homeowners who have already gone through bureaucratic red tape.”

Lawmakers first waived the fees in February 2013 but the law expired at the end of that year. While public works and the health department have continued to waive those fees the clerk’s office began charging the recording fee again in 2014, officials said.

Residents who paid clerk fees can seek a refund. Homeowners must have a Federal Emergency Management Agency case or identification number in connection with the damage to the property.

Since 2013, the public works and health departments have waived a combined $282,000 in fees, according to the Office of Legislative Budget Review. The clerk’s office has not tracked the impact of the fee waiver.

Based on historical estimates, Budget Review estimates that the new bill will allow homeowners to avoid nearly $190,000 in county fees.

The legislature Monday also tabled a vote on a bill that would give the county a lower percentage of revenue from the proposed Garvies Point waterfront redevelopment in Glen Cove than it typically receives from real estate projects.

Uniondale-based developer RXR Glen Isle Partners LLC plans to break ground later this year on the $960 million project, which includes 1,100 condominiums and apartments, parks, stores and offices.

The Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for the project in the form of payments in lieu of taxes. The city wants Nassau to get 6.4 percent of the payments instead of its usual 7.5 percent.

After nearly two hours of public comment, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) tabled the measure after Democratic lawmakers, who oppose the bill, sought additional tax rate information.

County officials also announced that former legislator Fran Becker, a Lynbrook Republican, has been hired as Nassau’s legislative liaison. Becker, who did not seek re-election in 2015, will work three days a week and be paid $60,000.

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