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Laura Curran delays $3 million in contractor licensing fees 

Richard Nicolello, presiding officer of the Nassau County

Richard Nicolello, presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County will delay collection of more than $3 million in licensing fees from some 10,000 contractors, many of whom are not working because of the state's prohibition on nonessential construction during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Construction contractors must pay the county $650 to renew their licenses every two years. The county receives more than $3 million in revenues from the fees each year.

Curran did not say when the fees would resume. Republicans want the county to restart collections no sooner than 30 days after the state allows nonessential construction to resume.

Also, the county will delay $100 annual licensing fees for more than 900 for-hire taxi and limousine drivers; Curran did not say when the collections would resume. 

"I am very concerned about the economic impact that this pandemic is having on all of our businesses but if you are a contractor or a for-hire driver you are paying for a license you can't use right now," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

"This is an effort to give those businesses some breathing room," said Curran, a Democrat. 

The moves by the county marked the first suspension of fees because of the virus and the economic fallout. 

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Earlier Tuesday, majority Republicans on the Nassau County Legislature had called on Curran to sign an executive order suspending the licensing fees for contractors.

"Workers have lost jobs, businesses have closed and most economic activity has ceased … Those whose renewals are coming up are faced with having no income or little income and are paying an additional expense," said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park).

"The county will eventually collect those monies but this will give our business owners and our trades additional time to recover and begin making money again," Nicolello said. 

Curran said later her administration had been working on the licensing fee issue for about a week. 

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, last month ordered nonessential construction stopped as part of a broad shutdown of business activity to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Essential construction work on roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, health care facilities, affordable housing and homeless shelters is exempt from the state directive. 

Nonessential construction includes home renovations along with such large-scale projects such as building of a new arena for the NHL's New York Islanders at Belmont Park.

"We are not forgoing this crucial revenue just delaying it," Curran said. 

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