Letter To The Editor – Rotondo Property

Filed under: Around Town,Building & Development,Huntington Station,News,OPINION |

Dear Editor,

Regarding an article on the Rotondo property that ran in the March 6, 2014 edition of the Long Islander, it seems that Supervisor Petrone and the paper missed Councilman Cook’s point.  Councilman Cook addressed the fact that Huntington School District 3 has lost approximately $400,000 in property taxes since 2005 when this property was taken from the rightful owner by eminent domain.  Town Supervisor Frank Petrone commented that once the revitalization is complete, it will “eventually generate more taxes than it is currently yielding.”  This is correct, because TOWN OWNED PROPERTIES PAY NO PROPERTY TAXES.

If the rightful owner had been allowed to keep this property, the Town and School District would have received property taxes based on a commercial rate for all those years.  In addition, the private business owner would have paid the tab to clean up the Rotondo property and at least 50 people would have been employed and spending their dollars at businesses in Huntington.   More importantly, the Town would not be bonding away our children’s future to pay the rightful owner for his property and be stuck with the bill to clean up the property.

Councilman Cuthbertson’s comment regarding the property owner’s malfeasance in operating an “illegal construction and demolition transfer station” is not completely correct.  The rightful property owner at the time that the town proceeded with the eminent domain was a new property owner and not the business that Councilman Cuthbertson referred to.  The property was no longer meant to be used for these activities, as the new owner was evicting the previous owner and had plans to clean and enhance the business to be an asset to the community instead of a blight.

Apparently some of our Town Board Members do not look at the whole picture or they try to spin a story that puts their actions in the best light possible.  Councilman Cook was on the mark. The Town should have worked with the property owner instead of stealing the property because the Town residents and Huntington School District # 3 would have benefited from it.  Supervisor Petrone said it is true that we have not gotten tax revenue over the past 9 years and then went on to say that once this deal is done the tax revenue would be much greater. When exactly will the deal be done? 2020?, 2025? 2100 ? WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THE MONEY LOST THAT SHOULD HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO OUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION? A child that went to first grade in 2005 and who graduates in 2017 will have lost any opportunities that the tax revenue would have supported.

Anthony Ohr
Huntington Station Resident

Editor note:  Read more about the Rotondo property here.

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