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Suffolk health dept. relocation proposed

A top aide in County Executive Steve Levy’s administration yesterday asked lawmakers to approve a proposal to move the health department headquarters out of Hauppauge and into an office complex in Great River to save the county $1.3 million over the next two years.

The County Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee tabled the measure after legislative counsel George Nolan said no action can be taken until a public hearing is held at the East Islip office of the local legislator, Thomas Cilmi (R-Bay Shore).

Chief Deputy County Executive Christopher Kent said Metro Realty of Jericho is offering 16 months rent-free for the site, once owned by Grumman Corp., on the south side of Sunrise Highway. He said the 63,000-square-foot space is 9,500 square feet larger than the health department now occupies in two buildings on Rabro Drive. The current two leases will end in December and January.

Kent said Metro Realty is offering incentives including new office furniture, cabling and installation of a new generator without charge.

The rent-free period would end in April 2013, when the county would pay $946,000 annually, a figure that would rise 3 percent a year thereafter. The department’s current annual rent is $1.3 million.

Kent said quick approval is needed because renovation necessary to accommodate the health department would take about 90 days. He said the landlord will not begin work until a lease is finalized.

“It’s not that we oppose what’s going on here,” said Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook), who said his office had not been notified in time to schedule a hearing earlier. He said he expected the legislature could act on the lease at its Sept. 15 meeting, the first after the public hearing.

The potential savings come as the county, which faces a two-year shortfall of $179 million, is preparing an operating budget proposal for 2012.

 

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