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Brookhaven bill would grant tax exemption for green buildings

Brookhaven Town Hall

Brookhaven Town Hall Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine will introduce legislation at Tuesday's town board meeting that would give a minimum of three-year tax exemptions for constructing or revamping green buildings.

The resolution, co-sponsored by the entire town board, follows a state law authorizing local governments or school districts to provide property-tax exemptions for buildings meeting LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Design, certification standards.

A public hearing on the resolution, followed by its adoption, is expected March 5, town officials said. "I'm sure it's going to be enacted," Romaine said during a news conference Monday announcing the initiative at the town's parks and administration building, which is also LEED registered, in Centereach.

The state law passed last year applies to construction or improvements beginning last month, town officials said.

Eligibility for the tax exemption must include more than $10,000 in construction costs, plus having a town building permit. The building also needs certification from LEED, an ecology-oriented building program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner called the resolution a good idea and said those constructing the buildings are spending upfront money that would be recouped on the back end.

"The tax abatements make this a win-win for those who are building as well as the environment," she said.

Depending on the building's certification, tax breaks could last up to 10 years. For example, a LEED-certified platinum building will receive a 20 percent tax exemption 10 years after construction; a LEED-certified silver building would get a 20 percent break for up to seven years after construction, but none thereafter.

"The new law will have a far-reaching beneficial effect on the way people plan future construction that conserves energy and is better for the environment," Councilman Tim Mazzei said in a statement.

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