The Nassau County Legislature Tuesday asked the state to approve five Nassau requests, including one that gives the villages of Hempstead and Freeport the unprecedented power to approve or disapprove businesses placed in their communities by the county or Town of Hempstead industrial development agencies.
The IDAs try to increase business and jobs in their municipalities by working out deals with companies to make a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), usually far less than the companies’ potential taxes.
“This is a good first step. We appreciate it,” Hempstead Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. said. “But we also need to be able to enforce the rules and to penalize or revoke their tax break if they don’t live up to the agreement.
“Some companies have 30-year deals. They get all of the village services, from police to garbage, while the rest of the community pays the bill.”
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy also applauded the proposal. “It was reviewed thoroughly by our village attorney — Howard Colton — and highly recommended,” he said.
Hempstead Town declined to comment.
Legis. Francis Becker (R-Lynbrook) wanted to know why the legislation was limited to the two villages.
“They are the two largest villages in the county” and have a disproportionate number of businesses getting PILOTs, responded Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker. Also, he said, the villages were proposed by Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead), the State Assembly’s deputy speaker.
The IDA home rule message to the state passed the Nassau legislature unanimously, as did the other four home rule messages that included renewal of Nassau’s hotel-motel tax and of its portion of sales tax revenue, accidental disability retirement benefits for fire marshals, and an extension of the environmental conservation law for the county.