Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 21 December 2012 00:00
Last month, nearly 100 Westbury residents and the area’s elected officials met at Westbury Village Hall to express their disapproval for The Bristal Assisted Living Facility’s request to have their Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) extended.
At the meeting, elected and appointed members of the Westbury School District, the Westbury Water District, the Westbury Memorial Public Library, the Town of North Hempstead and Nassau County Legislature also joined the mayor and village trustees.
That strength in numbers, Cavallaro suggested, may have been the deciding factor in the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA) decision to reject the application, which Westbury Village Mayor Peter Cavallaro estimated would cost taxpayers approximately $7 million over the next 10 years if approved.
“We’re happy, obviously, with where they’re at. I’m not sure it’s the end of the road honestly, but for now, it’s sort of a done deal, a dead deal,” Cavallaro told The Westbury Times.
In what many elected officials described as an “unprecedented” showing of bipartisanship, last month’s meeting likely prompted the IDA’s Decision, which was announced on Dec. 13.
“A thousand residents sent letters in and at least 50 or 60 showed up at the hearing and every single elected official who represented the area was opposed to it. Those were certainly deciding factors. I don’t think the IDA is used to having that type of response. I think the community definitely made their voices heard,” Cavallaro added.
The mayor said The Bristal’s current PILOT agreement expires in two years and the property’s owners may file for a tax certiorari at that time, Cavallaro speculated.
“We got some indications that they’re going to try to either reformulate their proposal or if they don’t do that perhaps file a tax certiorari, which is their right to do, to try to get their taxes knocked down, and that’s obviously which is appropriate for them to try to do.
“If they try to reformulate their PILOT extension, that’s something we will have to look at. But like every other taxpayer, they can take advantage of the tax cert process and see where they wind up,” the mayor explained.
Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Viviana Russell sent an email out thanking residents for their proactive responses.
“Whether you wrote a letter, told a friend, attended the hearing, we thank you for all of your efforts. This has been a great example of civic activism and what we can achieve by working together. We are proud of our community,” Russell said.