Fighting against LIPA for our school district
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the Long Island Power Authority tax challenge, which dramatically affects the Village of Island Park. This settlement involves tax certioraris, specifically as it relates to the E.F. Barrett Power Plant.
LIPA has made the case that, as an entity, it is overpaying its share of property taxes. LIPA officials have also stated that they want to “advance fairness for all our customers,” which is a lie. LIPA’s actions will cause imminent and certain financial devastation to our village, as well as other communities across Long Island.
LIPA’s property taxes represent about 45 percent of the total property tax levy for the Island Park School District. This translates to about $14.4 million. Information about any proposed settlements includes a wide range of possibilities, anywhere from a 50 to 90 percent tax reduction in a period that could range from five to nine years.
A settlement of 90 percent and a five-year reduction means about a $13 million loss for our school district per year. A settlement of 50 percent would mean about $7.2 million per year. The numbers are staggering, and pose a deleterious impact to a school district still feeling the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The LIPA board said it would seek a settlement of a 50-percent reduction over a period of nine years. This representation was made in a recent meeting between officials from our village and LIPA Chief Executive Officer Thomas Falcone and his representatives. Falcone stipulated that the average home would see a monthly tax increase of $15, which is not the case at all. The tax increase per homeowner would skyrocket, causing grave damage to our school district and our Island Park families.
Promises were made and promises were broken. From 2013 to 2014, LIPA indicated that the E.F. Barrett Power Plant would be rebuilt. The discussion, PowerPoints and media artwork centered on energy efficiency and conservation. The environmental impact would be a 90 percent improvement in air quality. The discussion included fiscal efficiencies and concomitant impacts and savings approaching 95 percent.
None of these promises materialized. It makes village officials circumspect in terms of a favorable outcome for the proposed tax certiorari settlement. I am not a believer in LIPA’s rhetoric and I will continue to fight for our school district, as well as every Island Park taxpayer.
The village has a true friend in State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, and we thank him for his determination to stand with us side by side and join this fight. I continue my fight for the promise and hope for continued revitalization, and a renaissance second to none in our great village. I will stand with Kaminsky and fight LIPA’s broken promises. Residents of Island Park deserve the very best. Together we will forge ahead with revitalization, economic prosperity and a thriving, prosperous Island Park.
Mayor, Island Park