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Letter: School district errors led to IDA imbroglio

Reader letter to Newsday for Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019r

IDA chief executive Fred Parola, at Town of

IDA chief executive Fred Parola, at Town of Hempstead IDA meeting on Dec. 27, 2017 in Hempstead. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hempstead Industrial Development Agency doesn’t object to a new law that requires IDAs to livestream their board meetings and public hearings on the internet [“Livestreaming IDAs,” Business, Aug. 28].

However, our agency disagrees with the characterization in your story that our 2015 approval of payments in lieu of taxes for the Green Acres Commons strip plaza and the Green Acres Mall was the cause for its enactment.

The article stated that a school district miscalculated the impact of the tax breaks and thus taxes spiked. In fact, district officials had four months to revise the tax levy to incorporate the correct PILOT revenue. However, the tax levy was not revised. An audit by the state comptroller found that the IDA “provided timely and accurate information to District 30 concerning PILOT revenues,” and that District 30 officials “underestimated PILOT revenue resulting in $1.8 million in excess revenue and an unnecessary increase to class 1 (residential) 2016-17 tax rates.”

The law’s sponsors, State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemb. Michaelle Solages, used these PILOTS for political opportunism, ignoring the comptroller’s findings. IDA streaming wouldn’t have prevented school budgeting errors.

Most government bodies’ meetings and public hearings are held during the day, yet only IDAs were singled out.

The IDA appreciates the need for transparency and supports these efforts. The more the public learns about what we do, the better it is for good government.

Frederick Parola,

  Hempstead

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of the Hempstead Industrial Development Agency.

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