Thomas Garvey, a Merokean and disabled Vietnam War veteran, expressed outrage in an email to members of Merrick’s board.
“Veterans in World War II, the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have made personal and professional sacrifices so that every resident in Merrick can live in freedom and peace,” he wrote. “Is it too much to ask that those that did not serve or sacrifice pay a few more dollars a year so that those that did sacrifice can have a few extra dollars in their pockets? I do not think so.”
Piskin stressed that she and her colleagues on the board support veterans, and that they are still considering the exemption’s financial and legal implications for next year. At its March 11 meeting, the board discussed placing a non-binding referendum item on the May ballot to see whether a majority of the community favors the exemptions.
“I just want to say we completely respect the veterans and all they’ve done for the country,” Piskin said.
Garvey said he was still dissatisfied. “From a veteran’s perspective, it’s just kicking the can down the road,” Garvey said. “They’re going to just vote with whatever the constituents want. So I think it’s just a ploy to give a decision to taxpayers … It doesn’t matter what you say about supporting veterans — actions speak louder than words.”