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Valley Stream school district demands tax roll answers from IDA

The Hempstead Town IDA in April 2017 revoked

The Hempstead Town IDA in April 2017 revoked the tax breaks for the Green Acres Mall, which had been granted by a different agency board in 2014, saying the mall's California-based owner Macerich had "grossly misstated" the number of jobs it would create. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Valley Stream School District 30 is demanding answers from the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency about its revocation of tax breaks for the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.

The school district said in a news release issued Monday that it cannot set its 2017-2018 tax levy by the Aug. 15 deadline without knowing whether the mall and the adjacent shopping center, Green Acres Commons, will be restored to Nassau County’s tax rolls.

The IDA in April revoked the tax breaks, which had been granted by a different agency board in 2014, saying the mall’s California-based owner Macerich had “grossly misstated” the number of jobs it would create.

IDA officials have not provided details of the revocation, including whether it is retroactive or only applies to future payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, fees. IDA officials have said they expect Macerich — which criticized the agency’s vote and said it has created “hundreds” of jobs — will file a lawsuit.

IDA attorney John Ryan declined to comment on District 30’s request.

In October, Valley Stream residents opened their school property tax bills to find increases of as much as 12.2 percent. Property owners and elected officials blamed the mall’s tax breaks for the hikes.

IDA officials, however, have said the budgeting practices of Valley Stream school districts are at fault. Superintendents for the Central High School District and District 30 have said they were never told of their percentage of the PILOT payments, so they had to estimate and then under-budgeted. The IDA says the schools were informed of their portion.

On Monday, District 30 officials said they will “once again be forced to estimate what it will receive,” which could result in a surplus or deficit of up to $10 million.

The state and county comptrollers are auditing the tax breaks and District 30. A spokesman for the state comptroller’s office said their audit is expected to be finished in the fall.

A Macerich spokesman declined to comment.

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