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Brookhaven to nominate 4 communities for economic program

Mastic Beach, North Bellport, Middle Island and the Mastic-Shirley area are to be suggested for inclusion in the new federal Opportunity Zone community development program.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine delivers his

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine delivers his annual State of the Town address at Brookhaven Town Hall on March 23, 2017. Photo Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Four struggling communities in Brookhaven Town are to be nominated for a program designed to create economic opportunity zones that could benefit from the new federal tax law.

Town officials said they would nominate Mastic Beach, North Bellport, Middle Island and the Mastic-Shirley area for the federal Opportunity Zone community development program, which is being created under the tax law passed late last year.

The program is designed to use tax credits to spur private investment in low-income areas, and underserved rural and urban communities. Federal officials are expected to select communities that will become part of the program, based on nominations submitted by state officials.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will select the finalists to be submitted to federal authorities, officials said in a news release. State officials are encouraging nominations as soon as possible. The governor must submit the nominations to the federal government by April 20.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said opportunity zones could boost job creation and development in communities that are accepted into the program.

“We at least want to see if we can get the governor to include at least one or two” Brookhaven communities, Romaine said Monday during a town board work session. “We are trying to make the best case we can.”

The town board is expected to formally nominate the four communities during its meeting Thursday.

State officials have said Cuomo is expected to nominate at least 25 communities statewide for consideration by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Candidates must have an individual poverty rate of at least 20 percent and median family income no greater than 80 percent of the area median, state officials have said.

Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, along with the state Homes and Community Renewal office, and the Regional Economic Development Councils will review the suggested neighborhoods and make recommendations to Cuomo.

Questions and recommendations from the public may be made on the ESD website, esd.ny.gov/opportunity-zones.

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