FREEPORT - Freeport is looking to relocate its Department of Public Works garage because its proximity to the water is costing its taxpayers, but the village's plans are facing a major roadblock.
The garage flooded so badly during Superstorm Sandy that it had to be shut down, and Mayor Robert Kennedy says it sustained damages that reached into the millions. Police and fire department vehicles were disabled and unable to be repaired, Kennedy says. The village is also paying flood insurance on the building that is costing its taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year because it’s in a flood zone.
Freeport officials want to avoid future problems by relocating the garage to an abandoned New York state armory building. The armory housed a National Guard unit until it was vacated in 2011.
A transfer of the site was approved in the state Senate by a 61-0 vote. But the bill failed in the Assembly because the area's Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper has been backing a different proposal. She favors using the building for a charter school or a community center.
Mayor Kennedy says he's frustrated that Hooper is blocking a plan that would save taxpayers money. He says he reached out to her several times for discussion, but she has not responded.
News 12 attempted to speak to Hooper, but only reached her answering machine.
The proposal is expected to be debated again in Albany as the new legislative session gets underway.