Hempstead, NY – As the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency (IDA) prepares for a public hearing slated for Wednesday, December 7th, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin, Councilman/Congressman-elect Anthony D’Esposito, and the Town Board today urged the IDA to prevent utility companies from obtaining PILOTs in America’s largest township. The proposed policy change comes on the heels of recent rate hikes by local utility companies as well as the financial “pitfall” created in Island Park by the reduced assessment of the E. F. Barrett Power Station. The officials were joined by Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Councilman Thomas Muscarella, Councilman Christopher Carini, Councilwoman Melissa “Missy” Miller, Town Clerk Kate Murray, Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll and Island Park Superintendent Vincent Randazzo.
“Island Park residents have been burned before,” said Clavin. “It is the responsibility of the Hempstead Town Board to be on the lookout for taxpayers, which is why we are urging our township’s IDA to put an end to PILOTs for utility companies.”
“The Village of Island Park continues to contend with the reduced assessment of the E. F. Barrett Power Station,” said D’Esposito. “They are living, breathing proof of the damage that can be caused by utility company PILOTs. The Town of Hempstead IDA should focus on bringing strong development to our township without threatening the wallets of taxpayers.”
In recent years, taxpayers have found themselves on the hook for increased costs associated with utility companies. What’s more, as utility companies look to expand their infrastructure, they apply for PILOTs without lowering costs – taking the savings from municipalities and turning a profit instead of easing their prices for ratepayers. The Hempstead Town Board noted that they are proponents of “doing more with less,” having cut or frozen taxes throughout the past few years. This is the opposite of utility companies, who continually raise rates without an end in sight.
A key part of the Town Board’s decision to lobby the Town of Hempstead IDA into forbidding PILOTs for utility companies stems from the financial “pitfall” created by the reduced assessment to the E. F. Barrett Power Station in Island Park. The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), who currently owns the near-obsolete power plant, settled with Nassau County to reduce the assessment of the E. F. Barrett Power Station over the next five years – slowly but surely leaving Island Park residents on the hook for the rest of the tax levy.
“Town of Hempstead residents are paying more for groceries, energy and other essential supplies. We should not be picking up the check for utility companies that have more than enough resources to pay their fair share,” concluded Clavin. “We strongly urge the IDA to stand with the Hempstead Town Board and our residents in making utility companies ineligible for PILOTs.”