Expressing outrage over the handling of a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement between the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and Valley Stream Green Acres LLC, owners of the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced that he will call upon the Hempstead Town Board to remove members of the IDA at its next meeting on November 15th.
“I am outraged by the IDA’s hearing process and handling of the Green Acres Mall PILOT agreement. The pleas of taxpayers continue to fall on deaf ears at the IDA, and I will not stand for it,” said Santino. “Hempstead Town is already filing a lawsuit to nullify the IDA’s deal. Now it’s time for the IDA to take a fresh new look at this ill-advised action. Clearly, the only way to do that is with new board members that will have the confidence of taxpayers.”
The Supervisor indicated that he has lost confidence in the IDA Board based on a variety of factors. He called the lack of transparency, accountability and public notice surrounding the Green Acres Mall PILOT “deeply disturbing.” In specific, Santino stated that the IDA’s procedures evidenced jurisdictional defects in failing to provide public notice to various governments that would be impacted by the agreement. Further, the Supervisor called the IDA Board’s actions in granting the PILOT to Valley Stream Green Acres LLC, the mall’s owner, arbitrary and capricious.
“I have demanded transparency and public outreach from my town administration,” stated Santino. “Even though the local IDA is an independent agency, I will accept nothing less from them.”
Supervisor Santino and Councilman Bruce Blakeman have previously called upon the IDA to re-open its hearing on the Green Acres Mall PILOT agreement, and to retain an economist to re-examine the agreement and its impact on affected taxpayers. The IDA retained the services of Camoin Associates at its October 26th meeting. Further, the officials are filing a lawsuit against the IDA that will seek to rescind the PILOT agreement, restore the mall to the tax rolls and cause new public hearings to be held on the matter.
“Valley Stream residents and all Hempstead Town taxpayers deserve an IDA Board that is transparent, encourages public input and is highly sensitive to the tax implications that their actions will have on middle-class homeowners,” concluded Santino. “By replacing the IDA Board, we will clear the way for new members who will be responsive to homeowners in America’s largest township.”