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Hempstead Village Board to vote May 21 on tax-break deal

The Village of Hempstead.

The Village of Hempstead. Credit: J.C. Cherubini, 2011

The Hempstead Village Board on Tuesday night put off making a decision about revoking a tax-break deal with the owner of a 112-unit apartment building, after receiving several complaints from tenants about poor living conditions, lack of security and drug activity.

The board held a public hearing Tuesday on rescinding the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement made in 2003 with Garden City-based Rivoli Redevelopment Co. Llc, which owns Rivoli House, at 40-44 W. Columbia St. Rivoli paid about $115,000 less in taxes this fiscal year due to the tax break, village officials said.

“One thing the village has is a lot of PILOTs,” said Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr., referring to the fact that properties comprising nearly a third of the village’s assessed value do not pay any taxes. “When you give it to apartment buildings, they don’t create jobs.”

Deputy village attorney Herbert Tamres said village officials are considering canceling the deal with Rivoli — an action officials say would be a first for the village — on the basis that Rivoli might have violated the state’s private housing finance law. The law requires a property owner to supply “decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing, with primary attention given to rental housing for very low-income persons,” Tamres said.

Rivoli attorney Michael Faltischek, of Uniondale, called the allegations “serious” and said property manager Manhattan-based Related Management Co. has addressed complaints. He added that there is security and a superintendent on the premises.

“If taxes would end up being more, then rents would go up,” Faltischek said. “There is not a justifiable issue to take away the PILOT.”

The board is expected to vote on May 21 on rescinding the PILOT.

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