Valley Stream mayor calls for probe into mall tax break

Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare is calling on New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to investigate the massive tax break received by the Green Acres Mall.

As News 12 has reported, the tax breaks were approved by the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency board.

The IDA approved the plan two years ago for the mall's $79 million expansion, which it says will create jobs and boost the economy. However, Valley Stream officials say the breaks left residents to make up the difference.

Lawmakers and residents say the result has been tax hikes of up to 14 percent for some residents.

The mayor wants the comptroller's office to audit Valley Stream School District 30's budgeting practices, since the mall property falls under that district's jurisdiction.

"It's a 2 percent tax cap...How could we get a 14.4 percent tax hit? How does that make any sense?" asked Fare.

Fare says he's hoping that the state will provide reimbursement to taxpayers.

Meanwhile the IDA says its tax breaks are not the only reason for the school tax increase. District 30 says it doesn't deserve the blame either. It released a statement reading in part, "The district stands by its good faith and reasonable estimate prepared in May. The Town of Hempstead IDA communicated the percentage of the PILOT payment the school district will receive on Nov. 9, 2016, seven months after the school budget was developed."

The comptroller's office told News 12 that it will review Fare's request for an audit once it officially receives it.


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