Plaza pursues block grant project input, approves Vigilant contract

Janelle Clausen

Great Neck Plaza will be holding a public hearing on possible community development projects on March 6, as it pursues a block grant from the Nassau County Office of Workforce and Community Development.

The village, as a member of the Nassau County Urban Consortium, has worked with the agency for years to pursue block grants. That money has gone toward projects like the repaving of the Maple Drive parking lot, upgrading streetlight fixtures to use LED bulbs, and roadway projects.

“They have been a very excellent source of grants and they’re a wonderful agency to work with,” Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said.

“They like us to have a public hearing to see if the public has any issues or concerns or projects they would like to see us submit for,” Celender later said. “We have a number of ideas.”

The Community Development Block Grant program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that provides funding for housing and community development.

Established in 1974, Nassau County receives a portion of funds from the federal agency annually to allocate accordingly.  

The program’s goals are to benefit people of low and modern incomes, prevent or eliminate blight, and address urgent community development needs, according to the Nassau County website.

Applications are due on April 1. Funds are awarded in September of the same year.

In unrelated village business, trustees approved a fire-protection and ambulance service contract with Vigilant Fire Company worth $930,757 for the 2019 calendar year.

The bulk of it goes to fire protection, worth $799,499, while $131,258 goes toward ambulance service.

“They’ve been keeping a relatively flat budget,” Celender said. “It hasn’t increased much … which we appreciate because this is one of the larger amounts of our budget and a pass through the north side of our village’s property owners.”

Great Neck Plaza’s 2019 budget calls for $7.3 million in total spending.

In other unrelated village business, trustees authorized the mayor to sign an agreement of 14 Park Place LLC, which owns the 15 Bond St. development, to accept a payment in lieu of taxes.

Celender said 14 Park Place LLC applied for tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency. Through negotiations, the village will be getting what they otherwise would have normally received.

“[This] basically provides the village the tax funds we would have received absent IDA financing since we’re going to be providing the bulk of the services to that building,” Celender said.

Officials added that this amount varies from year to year.

Trustees also repealed a law that would have allowed them to override the state’s property tax cap law for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The budget did not go over the maximum allowed a property tax increase.

The next board meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. Also on the agenda for March 6 meeting are a proposed mixed-use building at 16 Maple Drive, a law regarding trees, and the regulation of telecommunications facilities.

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