Letter: An Underlying Obligation

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By Patricia Navarra, Mineola Board of Education Trustee

Thanks for your quick response to Board President Artie Barnett’s letter regarding the Board of Education’s concern about the construction of almost 900 one, two and three-bedroom rental units under PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Tax) agreements. Under these agreements, these 900 units would pay a substantially discounted school tax for the next 20 years. While developers may have imagined these apartments for young professionals, certainly it would be discriminatory in practice to turn down families. And having become established in our community, young professionals will likely start families here.  Nine hundred units over 20 years will have its share of children.

But the buildings will not be picking up their share of the tax burden, which will be shifted to taxpayers and small businesses in the Villages of Mineola, Williston Park, Garden City Park, Albertson, and Roslyn Heights.  Our Board of Education must address any sudden bump in our school population and the attendant cost while keeping our promise to the school district taxpayers to honor the 2 percent tax cap.

We believe the Village of Mineola ought to be working with the board of education in a timely and collegial manner on any decisions that affect school taxes.

While one may prevaricate about protocol, the board of education has twice approached the village board about the possibility of cooperating on redundant expenses to save tax dollars and was rebuffed. On May 7,   President Barnett called your offices to discuss communication between our boards. When you returned his call on May 12, you agreed to meet with Mr. Barnett and offered to get back with a date; there was silence.

Civility was never at issue.  The issue is that the Village of Mineola has an underlying obligation to everyone who pays Mineola school taxes; parents, taxpayers and small businesses deserve to know the tax implications of decisions made by the Village of Mineola.

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