VALLEY STREAM - Residents and local officials are demanding that a deal to give a South Shore mall a multimillion-dollar tax break be abandoned because it comes at the cost of a tax hike on homeowners.
The Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency recently approved tax breaks for Green Acres Mall. The agreement beginning in 2017 would have the mall pay about $14 million a year for the next 10 years, considerably less than the $18 million to $20 million it pays now. Valley Stream residents could see their tax bills go up anywhere from $300 to $750 a year.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages gathered with residents Monday to sign a petition demanding that the Town of Hempstead reverse its decision and spare homeowners from the higher taxes.
"It's going to create pandemonium -- it will ignite foreclosure, it's going to do so much to our community," Solages says. "We're calling on the IDA to reverse the decision. If not, they risk losing their positions."
Residents are expressing outrage.
"We're offended by this, there was zero transparency, and now we're the ones who have to foot the bill," says Valley Stream resident Maribel Padin.
"I have to reconsider living in Valley Stream," says resident Pauline Williams.
Officials opposed to the plan say that if the IDA doesn't reverse its decision, they will call on the Town of Hempstead to demand that the seven members of the IDA resign.
A public meeting for Valley Stream residents on the tax hike issue is being held Oct. 19 at the William Buck School in Valley Stream.