County: Federal funds will offset property taxes

(Page 3 of 4)

Joe Baker, president of the South Merrick Community Civic Association, said he was pleased that federal money would go to help homeowners, school districts and local governments. He also said he would like to see local, state or federal officials take part in public meetings in affected communities to explain the relief program.

“Perhaps at civic and homeowner association meetings in the community, they should have officials come and explain the process so no one misses out on the money,” Baker said.

Nevin said that “it’s too early to tell” how much of the $300 million pool of HUD funds that the state has designated for local governments would go to Nassau, and that details about how these funds would be divvied up “are being worked out.” He also said the county Legislature must approve Mangano’s property-tax stabilization plan. “I’m 100 percent optimistic they’ll pass it,” Nevin said. “It would be political suicide to vote against Sandy relief.”

Cristina Brennan, press secretary for the Legislature’s Republican majority, said that the county executive’s office has not submitted a proposal to the Legislature so far.

County Legislator Denise Ford, whose hometown of Long Beach was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, indicated her support for federal funding to reduce Hurricane Sandy victims’ property-tax bills. “I’m happy that this will be passed down to the residents and local businesses,” Ford said. “Our area … was hit hard by Sandy. Many are not even living in their homes now but are paying their property taxes. It’s very nice to see that they will get some property-tax relief.”

Legislator David Denenberg, of Merrick, said that he would vote to accept federal dollars to help mitigate Sandy’s effects, but that he would press to make sure that school districts receive the funding they need. He argued that the additional funding should flow from the federal government and state directly to school districts, so that districts could appropriately lower their property-tax levies by the amount they were compensated.

“You have to go district by district and find out what their [property] assessments are,” he said.

Page 3 / 4