Written by Gabriella Iannetta Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00
Carolyn Mazzu Genovesi, president of the North Shore school board, said she has requested a solution from the state legislature over how the district will make up for the loss of property taxes in light of LIPA’s decision to ramp down the Glenwood Landing power plant.
Genovesi had testified before the State Legislature on Jan. 29, and updated residents on the situation at a town hall-style board of education meeting on Jan. 31.
By shutting down key buildings that generate revenue for the district, taxpayers are concerned with how the district will make up for the loss of property taxes the plant provided. The North Shore School District has been the community host of the LIPA power plant for almost 100 years and during this time, there has been an understanding that the utility would pay its fair share of property taxes.
Genovesi requested “a legislative solution to address the district’s problem of losing a significant contributor to its tax base with no lawful ability to prepare or adapt without making draconian cuts to core educational programs.”
The power plant is located within the district’s boundaries on the North Hempstead and Oyster Bay border.
Ken Spencer of North Hempstead said he was surprised to learn the power plant is located in North Hempstead.
“I’m curious of the new tax implications.” Spencer said. “How much does North Hempstead lose and how much does the town of Oyster Bay lose [in terms of revenue]?”
Assistant Superintendent for Business Olivia Buatsi said, “We receive taxes from the North Hempstead residents and Oyster Bay. It’s going to affect residents equally. The key word is ‘equal.’”
Superintendent Dr. Ed Melnick also explained how the ramp-down will affect town and village taxes for residence in North Hempstead, and school and county taxes for those in the town of Oyster Bay.
Many attendees of the meeting wanted to hear details on the district’s plan to conserve their budget.
Dr. Melnick explained, “The problem is not here in North Shore. The its problem is how public schools are (faring) in the New York State Legislature…75 percent of [our] budget is fixed costs, which we need to fix with New York State…Commissioner of Education [Peter King] predicted unless there’s a fix in Albany, 10 years from now public schools will no longer exist because they can’t afford to.”
Hurricane Sandy may be the reason why the LIPA ramp-down is receiving more attention from NY State than it did in January of 2012. The Moreland Commission was established to investigate LIPA’s actions and oversights. The commission found that LIPA is required to secure approval from the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) before making decisions that would modify an asset valued at over a million dollars.
Ultimately, though LIPA is taking steps forward to shutting down their main revenue generating buildings at the Glenwood Landing Power Plant, the North Shore Board of Ed and local legislators are not going to let them off easy. Residents within these few districts should expect an increase of property taxes, if the value of their house does not fluctuate, of 4 percent annually. Details of Carolyn Genovesi’s testimony to the NY State Legislature is on the district website.