North Hempstead's town board room, the site of impassioned commentary about topics such as salary hikes and utility poles, is briefly opening its doors to residents from as far out as Ocean County, New Jersey.
The board room has gone Hollywood, redressed all week as the Ocean County Board of Freeholders, for a film starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page and Steve Carell.
"Freeheld" has been filming inside the town's board room. It tells the story of a New Jersey detective dying of cancer and seeking pension benefits for her same-sex domestic partner.
Ocean County and New Jersey flags have replaced the North Hempstead and New York State ones; a giant Ocean County emblem covers the clock; county seals are listed above board windows; and the board members' placards have been replaced with ones naming the county board members. A basement room will be staged as Carell's character's office.
Town Clerk Wayne Wink, whose office handles film permits, said the filming has created a "tumult in Town Hall" as the actors have been seen inside the building on Plandome Road, using some office space as green rooms during shooting breaks.
They used it much of Election Day, when government business was closed and the building was open just for voting.
The filming brought about $4,000 in permit fees for the town, Wink said. The town has generated about $80,000 in fees this year, and Wink said the town is on track to receive close to $100,000 by year's end.
The town in 2012 lowered fees, and 2014 is considered a record year.