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In Hempstead, a CSEA buyout deal and Sandy tax relief

Hempstead Town Hall at 1 Washington St. in

Hempstead Town Hall at 1 Washington St. in Hempstead. (Nov. 28, 2011) Credit: JC Cherubini

Memo of agreement with CSEA on buyout

The Hempstead Town Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association that calls for town employees to take advantage of the early retirement incentive.

The board approved the agreement offering additional compensation to union members who leave town service between Jan. 10 and Feb. 24. Employees must notify the town of their intentions no later than the close of business Feb. 24, according to the agreement. The town workforce has nearly 2,000 employees.

“It is to get the most expensive employees to retire,” Supervisor Kate Murray said about the agreement at Tuesday’s town board meeting. “It reduces the number of staff, so ultimately it is a saving for the Town of Hempstead.”

Under the agreement, employees would be paid 1 percent of their base salary for every year of membership in the New York and Local Retirement System, up to a maximum of 20 years. Payments would be made either by March 24 or 30 business days after the employee provides proof of early retirement, according to the agreement.

The incentive agreement excludes the town supervisor, council members, the supervisor’s chief of staff or special assistant, department commissioners, director of communications, director of human resources, director of civil service commission, members of any town board, commission or committee, receiver of taxes, town attorney, town clerk and town comptroller.

Post-Sandy permit fee waiver extended

Hempstead Town is extending until March 31 a program that waives home reconstruction and repair permit fees to help ease rebuilding efforts for homeowners still dealing with superstorm Sandy’s aftermath.

The town board on Tuesday voted unanimously for the fourth time to extend the deadline for the temporary program established in the wake of the storm. The program allows for all Hempstead Town Building Department fees to be waived for Sandy-related structural repairs and alterations that conform to original dimensions and specifications. Permit fees can reach $2,500.

The building department also has waived fees for temporary housing trailers and storage pods during construction. The town also has eliminated a requirement for basis a building variance for those residents who wish to rebuild homes with elevated foundations to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency flood height standards.

Residents also will not have to pay the town fees to the town clerk’s office in order to replace important documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses and passports, officials said.

The town board also unanimously approved an Inter-Municipal Agreement with Nassau County for removal of superstorm Sandy debris from town waterways. The county will hire a private contractor to do the work, which includes using sonar equipment to locate debris underwater. The work would be done at the county’s cost and without cost to the town, but the county would be reimbursed by FEMA, town spokesman Michael Deery said.

Nassau County Department of Public Works spokesman Michael Martino said: “The project is being carried out by VIP Splash. They were selected through a competitive bidding process. The contract is on a unit pricing basis, and the amount of debris collected will determine cost.”

For more information call the building department at 516-801-5642 on Sandy-related business or the town clerk’s office at 516-489-5000, ext. 3046.

Tax assessment relief for Sandy victims

The Town of Hempstead has adopted legislation that would provide property tax assessment relief for nearly 3,000 properties that suffered damage in superstorm Sandy.

The town opted into the Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act, a state program adopted earlier this year, which provides assessment relief for residents whose homes suffered at least 50 percent damage.

The town has also exercised a local option, which will authorize assessment relief for properties located in the town that have at least 10 percent damage. The legislation is retroactive to Oct. 28, 2012, the day before Sandy, town officials said.

The Nassau County Department of Assessment is responsible for assessing properties in the town and would conduct the assessment adjustments. Homeowners affected by Sandy can complete a form on the county assessor's website. The deadline is Jan. 21.

The financial burden from reduced-value homes will be made up by Community Development Block Grant funds through the state’s New York Rising program, according to the Office of the Nassau County Executive.

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