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Towns roundup: Tax break for Sandy victims OKd

Huntington Town Hall in an undated photo.

Huntington Town Hall in an undated photo. Credit: Alexi Knock

Tax break for Sandy victims approved
At a special town board meeting, Huntington officials unanimously approved adopting a local law that will give a onetime tax break to homeowners whose property was severely damaged in superstorm Sandy.

Earlier this year the, state enacted the Superstorm Sandy Assessment Relief Act. It says municipalities can elect and adopt a law that grants assessment relief to those impacted and grant them a rebate of their taxes based on a formula established by the state. The basis of the formula will use the amount of damage as a scale to determine the rebate.

“There were people with significant losses who could not use their homes for extended periods of time,” said town Supervisor Frank Petrone after the special meeting Friday. “What this resolution does is provide a tax rebate because they didn’t have use of their home. It’s only fair.”

The town had until Friday to adopt a town law. Petrone says he estimates about 400 homeowners are eligible for the rebate.

Because the town’s assessment for taxes for 2012 was done before Sandy, even though the homes were unusable, property owners who experienced substantial damage to their homes were still required to pay their normal property tax bill in 2013. -- Deborah S. Morris

Late chief financial officer to be honored
A small group will gather Tuesday at the new gazebo in front of Riverhead Town Hall to honor Jack Hansen, the town’s former chief financial officer, who died in 2006.

The gazebo was paid for and purchased by the town’s Labor-Management Committee for $1,000 in Hansen’s honor, and it has just been decorated with holiday lights. His wife, Denise, and daughter, Lisa, are expected to be at the 2 p.m. dedication ceremony.

The gazebo stands on an 8-foot-diameter octagonal concrete pad, and is used in good weather to perform outdoor weddings. The town performs about 100 weddings a year.
Hansen was first hired in 1976, and retired in 2006, the same year he died.
-- Mitchell Freedman

Parking permit renewals OK at train station
Westbury rail commuters can once again renew their parking permits this week at the Westbury train station.

The village will handle renewal requests at the station, on Union and Post avenues. Commuters can renew expiring parking permits Wednesday between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.

Commuters can also come to Village Hall, 235 Lincoln Place. It will be open Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Thursday, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Residents can also renew their permits by mail or stopping by village hall, during regular business hours.

Residents are asked to bring a copy of a valid vehicle registration, and a check made payable to the Village of Westbury. For residents, the yearly fee is $65, and for nonresidents, $300. -- Scott Eidler

Shelter available for county’s homeless
Nassau County has activated its “Warmbed Emergency Winter Shelter Program,” in an effort to keep homeless people off the streets on cold winter nights.

No one “should have to spend nights in the freezing cold when they can call the Nassau County hotline and be placed in a warm shelter right away,” County Executive Edward Mangano, said in a news release. “Homeless people “calling the hotline will be connected immediately to a person who can help them get out of the cold and obtain the services they need to restart their lives. Help is really just a phone call away.”

The program launched on Nov. 27 and will run through March 31, but if winter conditions persist beyond that date, the program “will continue until warmer weather arrives,” Mangano said.

Those seeking shelter are asked to call the county’s Warmbed hotline at 866-927-6233. The program will operate daily.

Department of Social Services workers will refer callers to shelters. Once placed, social service workers and the county’s Office of Housing & Community Development will also provide homeless residents with resources to apply for permanent housing.

Mangano said homeless veterans who use the hotline will be assisted separately by the Nassau County Veterans Services Agency.  -- Laura Figueroa

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