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Mayors in North Hempstead to huddle over property tax credits

Mayors from at least six villages in the Town of North Hempstead have been invited to meet in East Hills on Thursday to strategize about ways to cut costs and share services, to make village residents eligible for the governor's Property Tax Freeze Credit.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's freeze credit initiative provides tax rebates to residents of municipalities that develop joint programs to save money.

In an invitation letter last Tuesday to the mayors of Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn Estates, Flower Hill, Roslyn and Old Westbury, event host and East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz noted the programs must result in savings of 1 percent annually over the next three years.

He added that in order to receive the rebate, the combined gross income of all residents in a home must not exceed $500,000, and the homeowner's property must be the primary residence.

The program is being phased in over two years. In 2015, local governments must also stay within the tax cap. The following year, they must submit an efficiency plan that outlines how they plan to save.

Koblenz said for the average home in East Hills, the credit would be about $30, but that would be added to other rebates under the program from town, county and school taxes.

"East Hills is hosting the forum and taking the lead on this meeting to create a closer alliance with our fellow communities in the greater Roslyn area," Koblenz said.

He said a goal of the meeting is to "gain a greater understanding of programs and issues and, hopefully, we'll begin a dialogue which will lead to many more meetings on programs and other issues of mutual concern."

Services East Hills could possibly share include road repaving, Koblenz said, noting that can cost his village about $1 million annually. He added that perhaps East Hills could get its gasoline for its municipal security cars -- and trucks devoted to snowplowing and maintenance work -- from the Town of North Hempstead, instead of from a local dealer.

The mayors of Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn Estates, Flower Hill and Old Westbury are expected to attend, Koblenz said. The Roslyn mayor had not responded as of press time.

Other officials who have confirmed include Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Sen. Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola), Assemb. Charles Lavine, and North Hempstead Councilman Peter Zuckerman.

"We would love this [meeting of mayors] to be done in other areas and to be a prototype," Koblenz said.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the theater on the village hall grounds, 209 Harbor Hills Rd.

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