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May 30, 2019

ABLI & LIBI URGE NYS TO REDUCE ENERGY COSTS FOR 1.1M LIPA CUSTOMERS BY OPPOSING BILL THAT MAINTAINS 5% POWER PLANT TAX

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September 26, 2018

ABLI, LIBI & ABC SUE TO PROTECT OUR REGION'S SMALL & MID-SIZE BUSINESS OWNERS, AS COALITION CONFRONTS UNCONSTITUTIONAL APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

ABLI and LIBI Partner to Request a Mediation Role to Confront Northport “Energy Tax” Shouldered by Long Island Ratepayers

 

Representing largest power consumers in the region, coalition requests participation in Tax Certiorari proceedings among LIPA, National Grid, the Town of Huntington, and the Northport-East Northport School District

Posted: September 12, 2018

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) and the Long Island Builders Institute (LIBI), two of the largest business organizations on Long Island, whose members include many of the primary energy consumers in the region, are seeking permission to participate in mediation efforts that would address the unfair property tax burden placed on every ratepayer by the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) Northport Power Plant. 

 

In a letter to the Hon. Elizabeth Emerson and arbiter Martin Scheinman, ABLI and LIBI have requested the opportunity to participate in the upcoming mediation between LIPA, the Town of Huntington, National Grid, and the Northport-East Northport School District, to ensure that the public interests are well-represented and preserved. Click here to read letter

 

“There has been virtually no progress toward a settlement between LIPA and the Town of Huntington, and we are concerned that if we’re not a part of the negotiations, on behalf of all Long Island ratepayers, an unfair resolution will be reached,” said Kyle Strober, ABLI’s Executive Director. “The challenges for the tax assessments on these power plants have been pending since 2010. The people of Long Island deserve better and we want to make sure that a decision isn’t reached that only serves to benefit a few.”

ABLI and LIBI further requested that the December 3, 2018 court trial date remain in place to provide both an impetus for the parties to reach a resolution and a backup if mediation is unsuccessful.

 

“It is time for this excessive taxation to end and for this power plant, along with all of the others on Long Island, to be taxed at an appropriate rate, which is related to the amount of use of the plant, said Mitchell H. Pally, Chief Executive Officer of the Long Island Builders Institute. “For all of my members on Long Island who have been paying their own property taxes as well as those on these plants, we would like to have our money back. The only way to ensure fairness for all is to be in the room when such decisions are made.”

A move toward settlement is apparent in litigation between LIPA and the Town of Brookhaven, the Village of Port Jefferson, and Nassau County. It is the belief of ABLI and LIBI that the combination of both mediation and the pending court case will encourage LIPA and the Town of Huntington to reach an agreement.

 

Strober added, “We can’t change the past, but we can ensure that any settlement reached will result in a significant reduction in taxes paid by LIPA customers, while providing for an equitable, multi-year step-down in tax payments made to the school district. Only by being in the room and at the table can we ensure that Long Islanders are protected.”

 

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ABLI Calls for NYS Authorities Budget Office Rule Change That Would Encourage New Multifamily Housing Developments, Addressing Critical Need for Region

 

Current NYS Authorities Budget Office Reporting Requirements Do Not Recognize Economic Benefits of Multifamily/Affordable Rental Housing Development, Discouraging Regional Industrial Development Agencies from Incentivizing Desperately Needed Projects

 

Establishment of a “Housing Units Created” Metric For IDAs Would Spur Sorely Needed LI Housing Developments, Provide Affordable Housing Options for Millennials and Baby Boomers

Posted: July 18, 2018

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) is seeking sweeping changes in how New York State Authorities Budget Office (NYSABO) computes new housing starts as contributors to the region’s economy, thereby eliminating a deficiency in state reporting systems that effectively punished IDAs from incentivizing multifamily/affordable and transit oriented rental housing.

 

In a letter to NYSABO, the ABLI is asking that the Public Authorities Reporting Information System (PARIS) be amended to include a "housing units created" metric as a means of documenting the considerable economic benefits generated by rental multifamily, and affordable housing. Click here to read letter

 

ABLI’s Executive Director, Kyle Strober, stated, “It has long been established that Long Island is in dire need of rental, and particularly affordable, housing. According to the Long Island Multifamily Housing Study, the bi-county region is approximately 72,000 multifamily units short of what it needs. It states that, even under the most optimistic scenario, in 15 years, our region will be 95,000 multifamily units short of projected demand. Should this tread continue, the current crisis will become a demographic catastrophe.” 

 

Strober reminded that rental housing units prevent the loss of young people whose exodus to other parts of the country threatens the ability of local corporations to retain a vibrant workforce and hinders corporations from calling Long Island home. Affordable rentals also allow the significant Long Island “Baby Boomers,” with their considerable disposal income, to remain on the island and contribute to the economy.

 

Local government urges a change to encourage multifamily housing starts

 

Currently, the PARIS system only measures outcomes related to job creation.  These metrics ignore the real and quantifiable economic benefit of having diverse housing options. Equally troubling, it punishes Long Island’s industrial development agencies if they encourage housing projects that benefit our region's very economic underpinning.

 

“The Nassau County IDA is actively engaged in developing and encouraging mixed income housing opportunities and transit-oriented development that our workforce is demanding,” said IDA Chairman Richard Kessel.  “This move to change IDA reporting standards would enhance that effort.”

 

Matthew McDonough, Chief Executive Officer of the Babylon Town Industrial Development Agency, noted that the current need for housing recalls another time, post-World War II on Long Island. “This is Levittown 2.0. If we want to encourage the future, the NYSABO needs to properly account for housing units.

 

"Simply stated, the ABO's outmoded practices do not properly account for housing.  It's more than jobs divided by abatements.  The future of suburbia is the construction of affordable and workforce housing that grows our tax base and provides the future generation a place to live.  There is no price tag on that. These projects create great short term construction jobs and some long term building maintenance, but this isn't a simple jobs calculus. It's a question of do we want to keep our kids on Long Island.  Are we a place that grows and attracts or withers and dies? Changing the calculus on housing’s `rate of return’ is now crucial and our future depends on ABO changing with the times,” McDonough stated.

 

“In a 21st century economy, economic development means more than just creating jobs. It includes research, innovation, workforce development, downtown revitalization, and community development, to name just a few additional components,” said Ryan Silva, Executive Director, NYS Economic Development Council. “The NYSEDC believes we need to consider the broader economic impact IDAs have across New York State; ABLI’s call for a metric that includes new housing units is a great start.”

Next LI Gen offers a warning

 

Nicholas Sieban, a New Hyde Park native and LIU Post graduate, hopes to remain on Long Island post graduation. He's already begun a preliminary search for apartments and cannot find one that suits his needs.

 

Sieban said, "Housing options on Long Island for recent graduates are extremely limited and virtually nonexistent for those making a normal starting salary.  In order to have any hope of maintaining a young vibrant workforce, Long Island must increase its multifamily and affordable housing stock.  Otherwise, the next generation of workers will look elsewhere."

 

Giovanna Domingo, a Village of Babylon native and LIU Post graduate, has started her career in accounting, working for a firm in the city.  Once she finishes her residency at LIU Post, She will attempt to find an apartment on Long Island that is close to a LIRR station, but is extremely discouraged. 

 

Ms. Domingo said, "Finding a place on Long Island that is located in a vibrant downtown and close to a LIRR is extremely difficult. Rents are so expensive that I will probably spend my first year living at home to save money.  Not everyone has that option.  Long Island is dire need of additional housing options as they are losing young talented professionals everyday to other regions."

 

Jesse Agbotse, a 23 year old LIU Post graduate who is expecting to receive his MPA in Health Administration next year, is hoping to remain on Long Island post graduation.  He owns a personal training business and wishes to remain close to his clients.  Currently, he resides with a friend in Queens and has been looking for his own place on Long Island. 

 

Agbotse observed, "It's not easy finding a place on Long Island, as there are only a handful of communities that have a vibrant downtown with young people that is advantageous to recent college graduations. To complicate matters, finding a place within those communities is extremely competitive as most people my age are looking at the same places. Anything to improve the multifamily housing options on Long Island would be greatly helpful to keeping millennials here.”

 

Private sector success stories

 

Anthony Bartone of Bartone Properties observed, “It’s important to understand that IDA’s facilitate the development of multi-family projects through PILOT’s, and the formula to quantify the value is not necessarily as simple as looking at it from an employment generation point of view. 

 

“The inducements the IDA’s offer are not incentives per se, but instead a mechanism to enable this type of development.  By way of example speaking on our recently completed Farmingdale transit oriented development (TOD) projects which created 20 workforce housing units, some serving those at 80% AMI and others at 50% AMI, had a pre-development existing property tax on Phase III of $40,631.  However, the taxes today (two years after opening the building) are $105,000 and will continue to escalate every year for twenty years,” Bartone explained. 

He noted that his Farmingdale project’s Phase I and II has 154 units and the property was generating pre-development property taxes of just over $200,000 and are now at $534,589 escalating up to over $2M per year over the next 16 years.  “These taxes do not go down and are contractually locked at these levels not subject to the ever burdensome certiorari or a similar challenge.  Therefore, not only would there be a stark void in housing options be it not for IDA involvement, but contrary to how PILOT’s are perceived, it also represents meaningful growth of the tax base,” Bartone reminded.

 

The ABLI seeks to create a coalition of public and private support, including elected officials, for its call to change how NYS ABO computes the contribution of multifamily housing starts to the local economy. The organization is a Long Island advocacy group, whose mission is to protect the current and long-term economic viability of the region.

 

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ABLI seeks Friend of the Court status in adding firepower to confronting over taxation by Long Island school district

In wake of federal tax reform, ABLI urges all Long Island school districts to eliminate excessive slush funds that place burden on already high taxed LI residents

“If schools don’t close this budgetary loophole, expect expanded legal action”

Posted: December 29, 2017

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) is seeking permission to join a law suit that would shut down a loophole that allows for illegal multimillion dollar slush funds to be amassed by Long Island school districts. This litigation reflects the growing anger and fear of Long Island property owners who are losing their property tax deductions under new federal regulations taking effect the first of the year.

“Make no mistake. The lawsuit that has been filed against the East Meadow School District is a wakeup call to every Long Island school board that has been utilizing this loophole to create bloated surplus reserves in violation of state regulations,” stated Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI), an advocacy group whose mission is to protect the region’s economic viability for future generations.

 

“There is a not a property owner on the island who shouldn’t be following the outcome of this litigation because there are tens of millions of dollars in surplus funds sitting in school district bank accounts that should be in the wallets of taxpayers. It’s more than unconscionable. It’s illegal,” Strober continued.

 

For years, schools districts have been utilizing this practice to pad their coffers at the expense of the taxpayer.

 

A lawsuit filed by the law firm of Cronin Cronin & Harris on behalf of an East Meadow homeowner states, “East Meadow Union Free School District, violated Real Property Tax Law (“RPTL § 1318”) by retaining an unrestricted fund balance that violated statutory limits into the 2016/17 tax year.  Their lawsuit further noted, “Respondent, East Meadow (School District), (previously) opposed Petitioner’s appeal primarily on procedural grounds.  Notably, Respondent’s opposition never denies the practice of systemically overestimating expenditures, which causes artificially high taxes, nor does it deny that it violated RPTL § 1318. 

A previous effort to confront the illegal slush fund was turned aside by the state’s Education Commissioner on technical grounds while records revealed that the East Meadow district had deliberately overestimated expenditures by $29.4 million or an average of nearly $10 million over the years in question. 

 

One district of many

Richard Cronin, Esq. of the law firm Cronin Cronin & Harris says East Meadow may be in the legal crosshairs but it is not the only district to create illegal slush funds through deliberately overestimated   reserves. “Within the last five months, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli audited several other school districts and made the similar findings involving both their practice of overestimating expenditures as well as their explicit violation of state regulations governing this accounting process.”

In his legal papers on behalf of his client, he cites, “In October 2017, the Comptroller issued an audit of the Massapequa school district whereby strikingly similar conclusions were made to the East Meadow audit.  Massapequa overestimated its expenditures by $24.9 million over three years, averaging about $8.3 million each year, or about 4.6 percent of actual expenditures.  Further, like East Meadow, the Comptroller reported the Massapequa school board “levied more taxes than necessary to fund the District’s operations.” 

The litigation also notes, “In July 2017, the Comptroller issued a report of an audit of the Elmont school district whereby the Comptroller made the same findings.  Elmont overestimated its expenditures by “$19 million or 8.17 percent” over the period covered.  The Comptroller’s audit found “the District spend an average of $6.3 million less than budgeted each year.  Budgeting practices that continually overestimate expenditures can result in the accumulation and retention of excessive funds, resulting in tax levies that are higher than necessary.” 

ABLI’s executive director, Kyle Strober, observed, “Enough is enough. The evidence is everywhere you look in the form of property taxpayers taking it between the eyes.  Once you could deduct those taxes. That era is over and with it the ability of school districts to get away with grand theft.  If districts don’t stop utilizing this budgetary loophole, expect more legal action to be taken.”

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FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST DECADE, SUFFOLK’S NEW YORK STATE SUPREME COURT SETS TRIAL DATE FOR LIPA TAX LAWSUITS

 

Suffolk Court Heeds Call from Long Island Business Collaborative, Takes First Step In Resolving Cases Costing Ratepayers Millions of Dollars That Can Be Plugged Back In Long Island Economy

LIBC Urges LIPA and Local Municipalities to Come Back to the Table To Negotiated a Fair LIPA Phase Down Settlement That Benefits Both Millions of Ratepayers and Residents in Affected Tax Districts

Posted: May 23, 2017

In a case that could dramatically reduce the financial burden on electrical ratepayers across Long Island, New York State Supreme Court in Suffolk County set a May 2, 2018 trial date to hear arguments involving a pending tax certiorari case involving millions of dollars LIPA is currently forced to pay in property taxes. Specifically, New York State Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Emerson assigned the date for the case of Northport-East Northport Union Free School District and Town of Huntington versus LIPA and National Grid involving the Northport Power Plant. The court date for what would be a landmark case follows efforts by the Long Island Business Collaborative (LIBC) to have the matter finally appear on the docket. Currently, LIPA customers pay $189m for four, over-assessed and virtually unused power plants on the island.

 

​In their February 15, 2017 letter to Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs who oversees the Suffolk based courts, the LIBC stated, “For up to seven years, various court cases have been filed by either the Long Island Power Authority or various municipalities (in an) attempt to resolve the amount of real property taxes paid by Long Island ratepayers through their electric bills paid to the Long Island Power Authority.  Some cases have been in the court system since 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, allowing millions of dollars which may be returned to ratepayers to remain in limbo.”

​The cooperative includes the Long Island Association, the Long Island Builders Institute, The Association for a Better Long Island, the Long Island Contractors’ Association, the Long Island Board of Realtors, and the Hauppauge Industrial Association.

The Call

​“The Long Island Builders Institute welcomes the decision of Suffolk State Supreme Court to set a trial date for this litigation which has lasted far, far too long, “said Mitchell H. Pally, CEO, Long Island Builders Institute. “Finally, the residents of Long Island will be on their way to getting their money back through a significant reduction in the amount of taxes paid on these plants by our electric utility, far in excess of the amount which should be paid.”

From rhetoric to courtroom 

 

Kyle Strober, Executive Director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI), said, “This judicial instruction finally moves a long running rhetorical debate over rate payer fairness into the reality of the courtroom. What it is also does is give both parties a year to find an out of court Phase down settlement that would create common ground between the parties. As the largest energy rate payer on Long Island our ABLI members would welcome an agreement that economically protects the local communities that have been the home to these now aging plants while ending the practice of virtually all ratepayers paying millions of dollars due to an over assessed tax bill."

​​In their correspondence to Judge Hinrichs, the cooperative explained, “With the average electric bill on Long Island being over $150 per month for residential customers and far higher for business customers, and with 15% of each bill consisting of real property taxes paid by the utility, millions of dollars of funds which may be returned to all ratepayers are at stake.  It is unreasonable for such cases to be allowed to linger within the court system for any period of time with such consequences."

The letters continue, "We urge you to have such cases decided as quickly as possible, within 2017 at the latest for all cases which have already been filed.  Neither party nor parties should be allowed to benefit because of the time it has taken and continues to take to resolve these cases.  No further delays should be tolerated; all of the residents and businesses of Long Island are waiting.”

 

Opportunity to find a solution

​Marc Herbst, Executive Director, Long Island Contractors Association, said, “At long last there is a real opportunity to correct a serious flaw in how these properties are assessed and the tax burden passed on to the entire region.  Equally important, there is an opportunity to have opposing sides find a solution that does not involve a judicial decision which could have a catastrophic impact on the villages that have been home to this under assessed plants.  LICA hopes that both sides take advantage of the one year window to meet, negotiate, compromise and announce a settlement that works for everyone.”

 

Long Island’s business organizations seek expedited action on LIPA property tax lawsuits

Posted: February 15, 2017

A coalition of regional business organizations whose members comprise the largest energy users on Long Island is appealing to the two administrative judges who oversee the New York State Supreme Court system on Long Island to break the judicial log jam on pending litigation involving millions of dollars in LIPA ratepayer funds.

In letters to Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs who oversees the Suffolk based courts, and Administrative Judge Thomas Adams based in Nassau County, the Long Island Business Cooperative stated, “For up to seven years, various court cases have been filed by either the Long Island Power Authority or various municipalities (in an) attempt to resolve the amount of real property taxes paid by Long Island ratepayers through their electric bills paid to the Long Island Power Authority.  Some cases have been in the court system since 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, allowing millions of dollars which may be returned to ratepayers to remain in limbo.”

The cooperative includes the Long Island Association, the Long Island Builders Institute, the Association for a Better Long Island, the Long Island Contractors’ Association, the Long Island Board of Realtors, and the Hauppauge Industrial Association. 

Unprecedented business response

Mitch Pally, chief executive officer of the Long Island Builders Institute (LIBI), stated, “The level of frustration over these delays is such that you have seen an unprecedented consensus from a half dozen business organization to seek expedited action by the courts.” 

Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI), said, “The inability to promptly resolve these lawsuits means millions of dollars are being kept out of the Long Island economy while overburdening every ratepayer with what essentially amounts to judicial surcharges on every kilowatt."

Lingering litigation that hurts the region

In their correspondence to Judge Hinrichs and Judge Thomas, the cooperative explained, “With the average electric bill on Long Island being over $150 per month for residential customers and far higher for business customers, and with 15% of each bill consisting of real property taxes paid by the utility, millions of dollars of funds which may be returned to all ratepayers are at stake.  It is unreasonable for such cases to be allowed to linger within the court system for any period of time with such consequences."

The letters continue, "We urge you to have such cases decided as quickly as possible, within 2017 at the latest for all cases which have already been filed.  Neither party nor parties should be allowed to benefit because of the time it has taken and continues to take to resolve these cases.  No further delays should be tolerated; all of the residents and businesses of Long Island are waiting.”

Marc Herbst, executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA), observed, “In the Bible the number seven represents completion and the perfection of things. It was not supposed to refer to the number of years required to settle these cases.  We do our region enormous harm in not settling these lawsuits and it would be my hope – dare I say prayer – that Judge Hinrichs and Judge Adams are able to expedite action on this matter.”

"It is vital to achieve an expedited resolution to LIPA’s pursuit of property tax relief which will help relieve an onerous burden on Long Island’s businesses," said Matthew Cohen, VP of government relations, LIA. 

ABLI names Kyle Strober as its next Executive Director - Schumer aide represents next generation of LI leadership 

Posted: November 23, 2016
Desmond Ryan, ABLI’s Longest Serving Director, to retire after 25 distinguished years of service
 
Organization affirms its role as a leading voice in the region, advocating to make L.I. more affordable & economically viable
 
The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today announced that the organization’s incoming executive director will be Kyle Strober, currently serving as U.S. Senator Charles Schumer’s Long Island Regional Director. On January 1st he will replace Desmond Ryan, who during his 25 years as the ABLI’s executive director, has been responsible for making the organization a leading voice in the region, spurring economic growth and strengthening Long Island’s quality of life.
 
ABLI president, Laureen Harris, a partner in the law firm of Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O’Brien, P.C., stated, “Over the decades Des Ryan has created an organization that has been aggressive and effective in confronting reactionary forces that would harm the region’s future.  Now, after decades in his role, he is handing that responsibility over to one of the best and brightest of his generation, Kyle Strober, and the ABLI leadership couldn’t be more pleased.”
 
While managing Long Island operations for Senator Schumer, Mr. Strober has worked directly with Long Island’s congressional delegation, New York State Senators and Assemblymen, county and town elected officials, mayors, trade and union leaders, CEOs and regional administrators of various federal agencies that directly touch the region. He has been at the center of initiatives and policy positions addressing various issues affecting Long Island including MacArthur Airport, the Long Island Rail Road, the Long Island Power Authority, major economic redevelopment projects, Brookhaven National Laboratory, storm resiliency, the Bethpage plume, aircraft noise, fishing regulations, the prescription drug epidemic, and other public policy issues that impact our collective quality of life.
 
Public officials honor outgoing ABLI executive director and welcome its new leader 
 
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stated, "The ABLI has a long and respected history of advocacy on Long Island, fighting to make the region more affordable and economically viable for businesses large and small. I wish Desmond Ryan the best and I congratulate and look forward to working with Kyle Strober in his new role as Executive Director at ABLI.  He will be a strong voice and champion for our region." 
Mr. Bellone’s remarks were echoed by Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano who said, "My administration has worked with Association for a Better Long Island to create jobs and improve our quality of life.  Together, we have worked to identify London based corporations seeking a safe haven in New York in the aftermath of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and we continue to work together to improve our local economy. 
“Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of working with Kyle Strober while rebuilding Nassau County post-Superstorm Sandy.  Kyle is a bright young leader on Long Island and I am certain he will ensure that ABLI continues to have a strong voice for many years to come," observed Mr. Mangano.
New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "Kyle has a track record of delivering results for Long Island and I am positive that he will continue promoting economic development in the region and working for the best interests of Long Islanders at ABLI. I also wish to thank Desmond Ryan for his 25 years of extraordinary service to our region. Long Island is grateful for his hard work and dedication to making our region a better place."
His Albany colleague, New York State Senator Tom Croci stated, "Kyle Strober has been an invaluable resource to Long Island in his service to Senator Schumer.  Kyle worked closely to aide the Town of Islip after Superstorm Sandy and, as the former Islip Supervisor, I was impressed by his mastery of issues central to strengthening Long Island communities.  I look forward to continuing to work with Kyle and ABLI to ensure the long-term strength of our Long Island economy and communities."
Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer explained, “ABLI members have long been involved in creating the type of innovative development in Babylon Town that has led to job creation, community revitalization and projects that define smart growth. Des Ryan’s strong advocacy of these kinds of efforts has created a strong and compelling legacy that will, in turn, allow Kyle Strober to broaden the ABLI’s role even further as an advocate for a strong and vital bi-county region.”
 
“ABLI is one of the leading regional groups that address the strategic challenges facing Long Island.  Our good government agendas are similar: reduce municipal spending and enhance economic development while creating housing opportunities for the middle class.  For a quarter of a century, Des Ryan has done tremendous work for our region, making a difference each and every day.  Kyle Strober is the type of young leader who will continue to ensure that ABLI remains a vocal advocate for all of us,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony J. Santino.
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth noted, “There are few individuals so well equipped to project the ABLI’s mission as Kyle Strober. In his capacity as Senator Schumer’s Long Island District Director he has been involved in every significant public policy issue. The organization was going to be hard pressed to find a replacement for Des Ryan but I believe they have succeeded in Kyle’s appointment.” 
A mission to advance the region’s quality of life
Mr. Strober stated, “Given his role, his legacy, his expertise and the respect Long Island leadership has for Des Ryan this is not about replacing him at the ABLI. Rather, my job is to build on what he has created to ensure the organization remains a respected force in the debate over how best to protect, enhance and strengthen Long Island. 
“ABLI intends to not only affirm our role but to broaden the group’s efforts as the issues we collectively face become more complex and challenging.  ABLI will continue to fight to reduce the property tax and energy cost burden, increase investment in our infrastructure and make Long Island economically viable for the future so that seniors, families and millennials, like myself, can afford to call this great region home.  I look forward to working collaboratively with other organizations and with those on both sides of the political aisle as we advance ABLI’s mission.” he concluded.
Mr. Strober was raised in Merrick and currently resides in Long Beach with his wife, Elyse.

Kyle Strober with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

ABLI urges Long Island ratepayers to confront candidates over “Dracula power plants”

Posted: October 31, 2016
The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) is urging Long Island voters being courted by politicians in the last days of Election 2016, to confront candidates regarding the continued illegal over-assessment of power plants that, if corrected, would decrease the average consumer’s energy bills by 15%.
“These over-assessed plants are Long Island’s version of Dracula,” stated ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan. “They are sucking the lifeblood out of our economy, extracting over half a billion dollars every year from the ratepayer to pay for PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) to school districts that host these aging plants.”
 Ryan explained, “Power plants in Northport, Port Jefferson, Far Rockaway and Island Park are industrial relics, but their real estate taxes, passed on to all of us, deceptively state they are worth multi-billions in fair market value.  It’s a sham when the only thing being generated by those facilities is political power designed to prevent them from being closed and dismantled.”
 He noted that these illegal assessments, coupled with the Shoreham nuclear plant debt, raise our rates 37% before anyone even flips a switch for power. That 37% is distributed to a handful of school districts that are now dependent on the over-assessments.
Ryan is urging voters to confront every state lawmaker running for office this Fall and ask them what their position is on addressing this enormous financial burden borne by every ratepayer.
 “This is about simple math, fairness, and the extraordinary financial burden borne by everyone outside those communities that are home to these defunct plants. For example, the Port Jefferson facility alone is so over-assessed and underused that ratepayers from Montauk to Floral Park are now subsidizing the Port Jefferson school district to the tune of $27 million every year. That sucking sound is your money being drained from your disposable income.”
 
Ryan is insisting, “Our elected officials need to be compelled by voters to confront the harsh math evident in every LIPA bill. All Long Island ratepayers are literally paying for a handful of school districts’ dependency on the power plants’ illegal over-assessments of fair market value. Lawyers seeking to block a fair resolution of this crisis only stall the end game while homeowners suffer and businesses debate looking for cheaper areas to relocate their corporations.”
 
The ABLI executive director says the only way forward is to force elected officials to “take the pledge to kill Dracula. These plants need to stop sucking out the economic blood of our region. The political will required to do so will be found by voters who understand the threat and take matters into their own hands in the voting booth.”
 

ABLI: LIPA will impoverish Long Island as it forces ratepayers to subsidize upstate nuke plants

Posted: September 23, 2016

(Hauppauge) -  The Association for a Better long Island (ABLI), representing some of the largest energy consumers in the region, is warning that LIPA’s decision to compel Long Island ratepayers to hand over $45 million to subsidize upstate nuclear plants will change Long Island’s energy costs from inexcusable to unbearable.  

“If LIPA was tasked with bleeding to death the economic lifeblood of Long Island they could not have come up with a better scheme,” stated ABLI president Laureen Harris, Esq. “Not a single dime has ever been offered to offset the multibillion-dollar costs of closing Shoreham, but the state has decided that Long Island is wealthy enough and indifferent enough to pony up its disposable income to pay for two upstate nuclear power plants. Is this Albany’s plan to impoverish one of the few economic engines left in New York?”

Published reports stated that LIPA will begin charging its customers $45 million to pay a portion of a subsidy to support two upstate nuclear plants as part of the state’s “clean energy standard” enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Harris reminded LIPA trustees, “You have voted to increase the burden of energy costs on Long Island while continuing to ignore the five obsolete, over-assessed, virtually unused power plants on the Island. Your lack of political courage means every rate payer from Montauk to Floral Park is paying dearly for these facilities.  In fact, 37% of each LIPA bill delivered to rate payers is just for debt service on these facilities and the dismantled Shoreham atomic energy plant.”

Harris challenged LIPA to address the stranglehold these plants in Northport, Port Jefferson, Glenwood Landing, Far Rockaway, Island Park and Shoreham have on our economy. “You are violating your fiduciary responsibility to the people of Long Island by allowing their pockets to be picked twice – once by this unconscionable subsidy and again by refusing to act on the obsolete plants on the island that serve no purpose other than to prop up local school districts,” she observed.

Harris warned LIPA, “Your actions are creating an unsustainable economic environment, where our ability to compete for jobs, investment and sustainable growth is harmed beyond repair. This needs to stop.” 

The ABLI represents some $20 billion in commercial, (industrial, retail and office) residential real estate throughout Nassau-Suffolk and has advocated on behalf of orderly economic growth for nearly 30 years.

 

ABLI hails court decision that prevents imposition of county fines

        “A victory for the downtown `Mom and Pop’ retail stores”

Posted: September 14, 2016

Calling it a victory for “sanity and the `Mom and Pop’ commercial property taxpayers of Nassau County,” the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today welcomed a decision by a New York State Supreme Court Judge Anthony Marano that sustains a temporary restraining order that prevents Nassau County from collecting significant fines from commercial property owners if they do not provide timely information regarding their income and expenses.

 

ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan said, “The fact is the law passed in 2013 that would allow Nassau County to pick the pocket of commercial property owners is flawed and we believe illegal. The temporary restraining order will allow a thoughtful review of that regulation and we are confident that in the fullness of time it will be thrown out. In the meantime, the county is going to have to practice fiscal prudence and not depend on dollars it has no right to.”

 

The legal challenge is being waged by Laureen Harris of the law firm Cronin, Cronin, Harris and O'Brien, P.C. who is also the current president of the Association for a Better Long Island.

 

She reminded reporters this week that she believes Nassau County does not have the authority under state law to enact such legislation, while noting that neighboring New York City does. However, she observed that the city’s penalties are a fraction of Nassau’s as City Hall does not view those fines as a means of closing its budget deficits while Nassau County is seeking excessive fines that could total $70 million in one year alone, an amount one county legislator derided as “peanuts.”

 

Harris stated, “What is particularly draconian is that 90% of the penalties for non-compliance would be on the back of Nassau County's `Mom and Pop’ stores having a fair market value of $500,000 or less. The additional financial burden could simply break those who are barely getting by now. In a word, it’s unconscionable.”

Harris further warned that the county is violating due process in how it imposes the penalties.

“Kafka could not come up with a more twisted government scenario than Nassau County’s mandate that corporations file their information electronically by April 1st of this year. But the county’s website was down on April 1st and owners were penalized if they filed April 2nd.  This is a poisonous brew of cynicism and incompetence,” stated Harris.

She envisions the case being sent to the Appellate Division which could further delay implementation of the fines by two years if the judges side with Nassau County.

“The continuation of the restraining order is a reminder that Nassau County’s desperate attempt to find new sources of revenue at any price is going to be confronted in a court of law,” she concluded.

Ms. Harris has long been established as an expert and authority on tax certiorari proceedings within the State of New York.  With over 30 years of experience, Ms. Harris has gained extensive trial and appellate experience setting legal precedent in a myriad of areas, both in terms of valuation and legal principles.

 

Ms. Harris is current president of the ABLI and past Chair and Vice Chair of the Nassau County Tax Certiorari & Condemnation Committee and continues to be an active participant in the Committee. She is also a founding member and past President of the Institute of Real Estate at Hofstra University. She has also served as the Downstate Chairman in Tax Certiorari and Condemnation for the New York State Bar Association.

 
Posted: February 18, 2016

Real estate veteran shares ABLI’s mission of regional job growth and economic investment

 

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) has appointed John Racanelli as General Counsel for the organization which represents more than $15 billion in commercial, industrial, retail and residential properties on Long Island.

 Racanelli, a partner with the Uniondale based firm Farrell Fritz, focuses his practice on commercial real estate acquisitions, development, leasing, financing and construction. His prior professional background allowed him to pursue a dual role as both principal and general counsel of a prominent real estate development and construction business which built some 13 million square feet of commercial and industrial space.

 ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan said, “John’s expertise and background provide a perfect complement to our mission of advocating on behalf of orderly economic growth on Long Island. As the real estate development industry becomes even more complex and challenging, having someone with John’s legal credentials is vital to our organization’s mission.”

 ABLI President Laureen Harris stated, “John has an outstanding reputation for his unique insight into Long Island development issues and the legal challenges that often accompany those proposals. He is a welcome addition to the ABLI team.”

Mr. Racanelli observed, “It is an honor to work with the ABLI so that we may pursue a shared commitment to sustained economic growth that can protect our region’s quality of life.”

                                                                                                                                            

A background of insight and expertise

Mr. Racanelli has served on numerous boards throughout his career and is actively engaged in various educational and community activities. Since 1981, he has been a member of Dowling College’s board of trustees and formerly served as the board’s chairman. He is a director of the Council of Governing Boards for New York’s Independent Education Trustees where he has previously served as chairman and vice chairman. He is a board member of the Long Island Arts Alliance; a member of the Energeia Partnership and the LI Index advisory boards; and chair of the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation's board of directors;

 Mr. Racanelli formerly chaired the board of directors of the Long Island Association. He has served as a director of the Long Island Builders Institute, the Action Committee for Long Island, the Association for a Better Long Island and the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, which he chaired.

 Mr. Racanelli received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 1969 from New York University School of Law where he was research editor of the Law Review. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in 1966.

John Racanelli, Esq. appointed General Counsel to ABLI

Laureen Harris elected as ABLI President

         “…a reflection that the real estate industry will now stand fast against unconscionable                energy and tax certiorari debts…”

Posted: January 1, 2016

The executive board of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) has elected as its next president, Laureen Harris, a

partner in the law firm of Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O’Brien, P.C., marking the first time that a non-real estate developer has

assumed leadership of the organization, sending a clear message that the development community believes their industry

is under unprecedented assault from a tax certiorari system that is profoundly broken, as well as the confiscatory debt being

generated by obsolete energy plants still on the tax rolls.

 

Ms. Harris stated, “I am honored to be named president of a group that represents some $15 billion in commercial, retail,

industrial and residential properties throughout Long Island; but I am also cognizant that my election comes in response to

an enormous crisis facing our region and the real estate industry. It is now far less about orderly economic growth and real

estate development and more about litigation designed to confront a spectrum of egregious flaws in assessments.”

 

ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan said, “There is a massive lethal poison pill that could kill the region’s economy. It is

the hundreds of millions of dollars of debt represented by a still fractured tax certiorari system in Nassau County and a

monthly LIPA bill every one of us pays on over-assessed energy plants that generate still more debt. It is unsustainable, and

Laureen’s task as president of the ABLI is to help lead a coordinated, legal response to cauterize these economic wounds.” 

 

Ms. Harris has long been established as an expert and authority on tax certiorari proceedings within the State of New York. 

With over 30 years of experience, Ms. Harris has gained extensive trial and appellate experience setting legal precedent in a

myriad of areas, both in terms of valuation and legal principles.

 

A change in leadership but not the mission

 

Outgoing ABLI President Jan Burman, a partner in the real estate company Engel Burman, stated, “Laureen is among a handful of attorneys who understand the complexity of tax certs and how abuse of the system can distort, damage and destroy a portion of the economy critical to the health of the region. The ABLI will continue to advocate for sound development policies and orderly economic growth, but there is an absolute urgency to address this crisis. Her election to this position was unanimous.”

 

Ms. Harris is the past Chair and Vice Chair of the Nassau County Tax Certiorari & Condemnation Committee (1988 to 1992, 2010 to 2012) and has continued to be an active participant in the Committee.  Ms. Harris has been a Board Member of the ABLI since 1996 and is also a founding member and past President of the Institute of Real Estate at Hofstra University, an educational forum for the Long Island real estate community.  She has also served as the Downstate Chairman in Tax Certiorari and Condemnation for the New York State Bar Association.

 

ABLI Board member Michael Polimeni concluded, “Tough times call for proven specialists who are capable of strategic vision combined with tactical action.. Laureen Harris is the right person to be the ABLI president as the tax certiorari crisis is lurching from dangerous to catastrophic. Only the insiders know how just how bad it is and that is why our real estate community has voted to put Laureen’s expertise and leadership to work.”

ABLI President Laureen Harris

Posted: January 1, 2016

The executive board of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) has elected as its next president, Laureen Harris, a

partner in the law firm of Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O’Brien, P.C., marking the first time that a non-real estate developer has

assumed leadership of the organization, sending a clear message that the development community believes their industry

is under unprecedented assault from a tax certiorari system that is profoundly broken, as well as the confiscatory debt being

generated by obsolete energy plants still on the tax rolls.

 

Ms. Harris stated, “I am honored to be named president of a group that represents some $15 billion in commercial, retail,

industrial and residential properties throughout Long Island; but I am also cognizant that my election comes in response to

an enormous crisis facing our region and the real estate industry. It is now far less about orderly economic growth and real

estate development and more about litigation designed to confront a spectrum of egregious flaws in assessments.”

 

ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan said, “There is a massive lethal poison pill that could kill the region’s economy. It is

the hundreds of millions of dollars of debt represented by a still fractured tax certiorari system in Nassau County and a

monthly LIPA bill every one of us pays on over-assessed energy plants that generate still more debt. It is unsustainable, and

Laureen’s task as president of the ABLI is to help lead a coordinated, legal response to cauterize these economic wounds.” 

 

Ms. Harris has long been established as an expert and authority on tax certiorari proceedings within the State of New York. 

With over 30 years of experience, Ms. Harris has gained extensive trial and appellate experience setting legal precedent in a

myriad of areas, both in terms of valuation and legal principles.

 

A change in leadership but not the mission

 

Outgoing ABLI President Jan Burman, a partner in the real estate company Engel Burman, stated, “Laureen is among a handful of attorneys who understand the complexity of tax certs and how abuse of the system can distort, damage and destroy a portion of the economy critical to the health of the region. The ABLI will continue to advocate for sound development policies and orderly economic growth, but there is an absolute urgency to address this crisis. Her election to this position was unanimous.”

 

Ms. Harris is the past Chair and Vice Chair of the Nassau County Tax Certiorari & Condemnation Committee (1988 to 1992, 2010 to 2012) and has continued to be an active participant in the Committee.  Ms. Harris has been a Board Member of the ABLI since 1996 and is also a founding member and past President of the Institute of Real Estate at Hofstra University, an educational forum for the Long Island real estate community.  She has also served as the Downstate Chairman in Tax Certiorari and Condemnation for the New York State Bar Association.

 

ABLI Board member Michael Polimeni concluded, “Tough times call for proven specialists who are capable of strategic vision combined with tactical action.. Laureen Harris is the right person to be the ABLI president as the tax certiorari crisis is lurching from dangerous to catastrophic. Only the insiders know how just how bad it is and that is why our real estate community has voted to put Laureen’s expertise and leadership to work.”

 
 
Posted: March 31, 2015
 

Ironically it’s not long Island’s traditionally high costs that are a barrier to attracting new companies to the region. It’s a dysfunctional government approval process for new construction or the redevelopment of obsolete space according to Phil Schneider, President of the Site Selectors Guild, the nation’s largest corporate relocation association, who made the comments during a presentation hosted by the Association for a Better Long Island and allied industry groups.

 

ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan observed, “What Phil basically said is that too many of our elected officials don’t understand the economic power of real estate development and that blind spot is recognized across the country.”

 

Schneider, who runs his own consulting firm, conducted an informal study of Long Island over a two day period last fall and found that there is a lack of a “single voice” that would bring all interested parties together from the public and private sectors.

 

“It is very important that Long Island develops a coalition and has one (public-private) voice that represents all involved,” said Schneider. It is imperative to work well together and with New York State which is the `brand’ of your (collective) business.”

 

Schneider emphasized that high costs are not as much of a hurdle as people think. He pointed out that areas such as Boston, San Diego and Seattle have all done well despite the rising cost of doing business.

 

“Most successful regions have high costs,” added Schneider. “The Silicon Valley, Boston and San Diego are perfect examples of places that have definitely made great strides in a high cost setting.”

 

One of the key factors companies are looking for when deciding on locations, is the ability for the area to develop, retain and attract talent.  

 

“Long Island knows how to develop talent through a top quality education system,” Schneider stated. You just need to know how to keep them.”

 

Those joining the ABLI in presenting Schneider’s analysis before several hundred real estate leaders included the Long Island Builders Institute (LIBI), the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society (CIBS) and the Long Island Board of Realtors (LIBOR).

 

The Association for a Better Long Island represents some $15 billion dollars worth of commercial, industrial, retail and residential real estate and is committed to orderly economic growth throughout the region. 

Leading relocation executive tells real estate industry Long Island’s challenge to attracting national firms isn’t cost but a dysfunctional government approach to development 

Phil Schneider, President of the Site Selectors Guild

 
 
Posted: December 17, 2013
 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has appointed Mr. Jan Burman, president of The Engel Burman Group, and the current president of the Association for a Better Long Island, to the board of The United Nations Development Corporation, a New York State public benefit corporation that assists the United Nations community with various real estate needs in Manhattan.

 

Mr. Burman has long been an advocate of leveraging progressive real estate development for the purpose of growing jobs and creating new investment in communities throughout the region.  While based in Garden City, Long Island, his firm has properties across the length of the eastern seaboard where they have specialized in repurposing buildings through pioneering advances in design and development.

The UNDC’s mission includes providing office space and other facilities that help meet the administrative needs in Manhattan.  In addition, the UNDC drafts studies and prepares analysis so that future needs of the United Nations in New York can be anticipated and met. 

 

“I am honored to be appointed by the Governor to a board whose purpose is to ensure that the United Nations remains a potent economic force in New York, one that generates local jobs and additional investment.  It has been estimated that the UN’s presence adds billions of dollars annually to our economy, an achievement that should not just be sustained but strengthened,” observed Burman.  

In addition to his ABLI presidency, Mr. Burman is perhaps best known for his leadership role in creating the Bristal Assisted Living Communities, an extraordinary reinvention of assisted living that now provides an unmatched standard of excellence in caring for a growing retiree population in the New York metropolitan area. Today, there are 1500 units in eleven communities.

 

Mr. Burman began his career as a certified public accountant working in the tax and audit departments of Touche Ross & Co.  His ongoing leadership of the Association for a Better Long Island, a property-owners trade group which represents over $20 billion of industrial, commercial, retail and residential properties in the Long Island metropolitan area, has made it a dynamic and respected force in the real estate industry.  He is a former recipient of the Developer of the Year Award from the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island, a current member of the board of the Community Development Corporation of L.I. and serves on the Board of the Nassau County Police Foundation. 

ABLI Congratulates its President being named to UN Development Corporation by Governor Cuomo

ABLI Board of Director Jan Burman

The Suburbs Are About to Fight it Out Under Midtown
Posted: September 19, 2012
 

By Desmond Ryan, Executive Director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI)
 

The Long Island Rail Road has lost its title to Metro North as the nation’s busiest railroad, and that leaves it vulnerable to those who would use that reversal to swipe the LIRR’s precious track space at Penn Station.

 If there has been one constant in the region’s economic development it has been the Long Island Railroad. Originally built in 1834 to link New Yorkers with New England by running a train to a ferry, it quickly evolved into a strategic link that brought agricultural produce to Manhattan and commuters home to Long Island villages. By World War II it was bringing troops out to Long Island military bases and aircraft parts to Republic Aviation and Grumman.  In 1949, the Long Island Rail Road was moving some 91.8 million commuters a year, a number never equaled.
 

 Not only are those days long gone, but the economy, politics and technology have just dethroned the LIRR as the busiest commuter line in the nation. The latest MTA statistics report that Westchester based Metro North is now handling a larger passenger load, but there is much more to this statistic than a simple function of counting heads and awarding honors.
 

 Metro North has been eying space at Penn Station since 2009, convinced that west side access would improve its position with commuters who have been arriving for generations at that glorious masterpiece of urban train architecture, Grand Central Terminal. Until now they have been rebuffed because anyone who actually uses Penn knows just how difficult it is for the LIRR to move more than 500 trains a day in that space while competing for track space with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.
 

 On the distant horizon is the completion of the East Side Access tunnel which will permit the LIRR to bring trains into Grand Central. It is one more opportunity for Metro North advocates to lobby for track positions at Penn Station, but they miss several crucial points.
 

 East Side Access will not significantly alter the LIRR train and passenger congestion at Penn Station. With its rail yards just to the west of Penn it still needs to move its commuter trains through the station in order to prevent them from making “dead end” runs to storage yards far out on Long Island.  While a spectacular engineering project beneath the East River, there are no Grand Central storage facilities for the LIRR. What comes into that complex must depart or risk clogging the rails. The simple reality is East Side Access will not strategically alter the role of Penn Station as the key New York terminus for the LIRR.
 

 The transfer of  bragging rights as “busiest” railroad from LIRR to Metro North is a reflection of an economic cycle that has seen the heavy construction industry lag in Manhattan and many middle level Wall Street employees lose their jobs; many of these men and women have been LIRR commuters. Coupled with Internet commuting for those in media and marketing, it is no surprise the Long Island Railroad has been experiencing a downward cycle in passenger loads. But it is a cycle, and given its far larger population base, it is only a matter of time before the LIRR retakes its place as the Number One commuter line in the nation.

 It is during this time of political vulnerability that Metro North advocates on the MTA Board will look to make the case that they deserve a larger share of scarce capital funds,  that billions should be spent to build them rail access to Penn Station and that LIRR trains should be eliminated to make it all happen. Those actions would irreparably harm the ability of the Long Island Rail Road to do its job of getting commuters to the jobs that help power New York City’s economy.

Strengthening a Core Industry: ABLI Plays Defense:
Posted on: March 07, 2012
 
(Hauppauge, NY) - Michael Polimeni, chairman of the ABLI’s defense industry advocacy committee, today met with Congressman Steve Israel and executives of Northrop Grumman to expand the group’s role in strengthening the region’s aerospace and defense business sectors“Long Island is home to a billion dollar plus defense industry but few in the region appreciate that fact or that it continues to play a substantial role in our economy. Too many believe that when the F-14 production line was shut down 25 years ago it took the region’s future with it. That is the furthest thing from the truth as Northrop Grumman and dozens of companies like it advance high technology systems that are both manned and unmanned. Our challenge is to enlist Long Islanders in advocating on behalf of a business sector that generates jobs, investment and value throughout the bi-county region.”

Congressman Steve Israel stated, “Long Island’s defense industry does indeed play a significant role in our region’s economy with thousands of local jobs. We must work together to ensure the continued strength of our country's national security. I am honored to partner with ABLI to advocate for these local jobs and Long Island’s robust defense tradition.”

Welcoming Polimeni to their Bethpage offices was Pat McMahon, Northrop Grumman’s Sector Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Military Aircraft Systems business unit.

She noted, “Northrop Grumman is a proud and dynamic company with roots that go back for generations on Long Island. Our aircraft and weapons systems have helped defend America for over 80 years--from the darkest days of World War II to today’s support for America’s troops and allies around the world. The ABLI’s recognition of an industry that continues to employ some of the best and brightest on Long Island is not only welcome but reflects a new and potent ally in securing the future of the Long Island aerospace and defense industries.”

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) represents some $15 billion in commercial, industrial, retail and residential real estate. It has advocated on behalf of orderly economic growth, a reduction in the cost of government, progressive energy policies and strategic investment in the region’s infrastructure.

ABLI President Jan Burman stated, “Among our most recent actions was ABLI’s public questioning of a Pentagon decision to shut down the production line for Air Force Global Hawk surveillance aircraft when the generals have repeatedly stated that they are depending more and more on these types of sophisticated unmanned aircraft. Northrop Grumman has been a leader in this field and no one can provide us with an answer as to why the Pentagon has created this self inflicted wound.” 
economy.
ABLI Endorses County Executive Mangano's RFP that would Reinvent Mitchel Field, Creating Jobs, Taxes and Investment 


Posted On: February 07, 2012

 

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today endorsed the decision by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to dramatically reinvent the future of Mitchel Field by challenging the real estate industry to respond to an RFP that would redevelop the property.

Immediate past president of the ABLI Mitchell Rechler of Rechler Equities, stated, “Innovative development funded through private investment dollars has the means to create a powerful new economic engine for Nassau County. We believe the County Executive’s actions can harness the power of the marketplace to create the types of proposals that will benefit the county’s economy and the county taxpayer while bringing significant investment, new tax revenue and job creation.”

Fellow ABLI board member and past president Alan Eidler of Spiegel Associates, said, “It is no secret that we respectfully disagreed with a plan that would have used county bonds to rebuild the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. We believe it is the responsibility of the private sector to put its investment dollars on the line in the expectation that a Mitchel Field re-development project will bring an appropriate measure of return for its companies and the community. This RFP begins to set the stage to do exactly that.”

Rechler noted, “The County Executive should be commended and supported for his sustained commitment to reinventing Mitchel Field.  He sees it as we do, an extraordinary opportunity to recharge Nassau County’s economy.”

The absolute need for county and town to design the process and zoning parameters

Other ABLI leaders endorsing the county’s plan to introduce an RFP to the real estate industry include the group’s President Jan Burman of Engel Burman, Edward Blumenfeld of Blumenfeld Development Group, Mark Hamer of Harvest Real Estate and Vince Polimeni of Polimeni International.

Mr. Burman said, “This will be one of the most important projects in a generation and the ability to ensure an integrated approach on the governmental level will be nothing less than crucial. We believe the Town and County must sit down together and create the specific zoning parameters that the development community can respond to. An affirmative response to the RFP will be as a result of a clearly defined process presented in a coordinated manner by two different levels of government. That approach may be unprecedented but so too is the need to finally break ground at Mitchel Field.”

Mr. Rechler agreed. “History has shown that bidding on this site with ambiguous development parameters has led to years of time and money wasted by a number of administrations.  In order for the redevelopment of the Mitchel Field property to occur, the county must sit down with a professional real estate consultant and the Town of Hempstead and negotiate their vision for the site.  From that effort an RFP can be produced that will result in a developer paying the maximum price for a viable project and also allow for this project to move forward, once and for all.”

What will attract private investment on public land?

Mr. Polimeni observed, “This RFP requires a clean piece of paper. Recognizing that the Town has already specified their density requirements, does that instruction actually work within the realities of the marketplace and is the Town willing to amend that regulation?  These are just some of the questions any developer will be compelled to ask.”

Equally important is the question of the Coliseum and its role before and after the hockey season. Mr. Hamer stated, “The Islanders, the Coliseum and the future of both are embedded within this RFP. The development team needs to look at this as a business model and analyze what it means to the County’s economy and this project’s viability regardless of whether the team and the arena stay or go.”

Ed Blumenfeld said, “There is a unique window of opportunity for the Mitchel Field site. The Mangano Administration is committed to making it a cornerstone of economic growth in the county and the development community wants to make that mission succeed. We welcome his steadfast efforts and his willingness to find the formula that allows the taxpayer, the county and the private development community to be winners.”

The ABLI represents some $20 billion worth of Long Island commercial, industrial, retail and residential housing.

 
ABLI Stands Firm on Governor's Commitment to Education and Obtaining Value for the Taxpayer's Dollar
Posted on: February 01, 2012

Desmond Ryan, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today stated, “Governor Andrew Cuomo has changed the conversation on education to focus on the students and results instead of the process and past funding paradigms; and, we support this change. For too long the educational establishment has asked for more without demanding accompanying improvements in student achievement and graduation rates. This type of thinking has led us to where we are today: facing the potential loss of $700 million in federal education funding. “

ABLI President Jan Burman underscored the group’s position. “Long Island’s students and their families know that a sound education is the foundation for a strong, productive future for children and their communities. The days of demanding more without demonstrating how achievement will improve are over now that the Governor has made performance a key focus for funding increases. The Governor’s proposal to reward districts that improve student performance will benefit the students of Long Island and we applaud his efforts,” Burman said.

 The ABLI represents some $20 billion worth of Long Island commercial, industrial, retail and residential housing throughout the bi-county region and whose members represent some of the largest property tax payers on the island.

Jan Burman Returns as ABLI President "Long Island can't wait for Washington to Improve the Economy..."
Posted on: January 25, 2012
 

The executive board of the Association for a Better Long Island has elected as its next president, Jan Burman, President and CEO of the Engel Burman Group. This marks the second time that Burman will lead a group that represents some $15 billion in commercial, retail, industrial and residential properties throughout Nassau and Suffolk. 

Mr. Burman stated, “Let’s be clear, business as usual is dead and is never coming back. Long Island is at a crossroads. It will either direct its own economic future, leveraging one of the best educated work forces in the nation to reinvent our economy or it will become a region at risk, one that failed to appreciate that you can’t wait for Washington to bail us out of the recession. I believe there is now a growing realization by our municipal leaders that vision, combined with affirmative and sustained action, is the only means we have to protect and strengthen Long Island.”

Burman is president of a Garden City based full service real estate company that owns and develops industrial, office and residential properties on Long Island and throughout the eastern seaboard. Today he may be best known for his role in creating the Bristal Assisted Living Communities across Long Island and the New York area, dramatically raising the bar for a retired generation that wish to remain in the region while enhancing their quality of life. 

Mr. Burman began his career as a certified public accountant working in the tax and audit departments of Touche Ross & Co. In addition to serving as President of the Association for a Better Long Island a decade ago he is a recipient of the Developer of the Year Award from the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society of Long Island. 

Burman’s legacy revisited 

Ed Blumenfeld, of Blumenfeld Development Group, an ABLI founding member and a member of its executive board, said, “Jan has long recognized the role of the real estate industry to prime the economic pump of Long Island, generate needed taxes and provide a foundation for our orderly growth. More important, his prior ABLI tenure demonstrated his unique skill at creating public-private consensus for progressive real estate concepts that would strategically direct our region. That skill is needed now more than ever.” 

ABLI Executive Director Desmond Ryan explained, “The economy, energy and the environment are the topics Jan is focusing on as the platform for his ABLI term. I would also suggest demographics, departure and direction because we need to understand why an entire generation of Long Islanders is threatening to leave the region because our young people do not see an economy or affordable housing policies that would keep them here.” 

Mitchell Rechler of Rechler Equities and immediate past ABLI President, concluded, “Jan Burman enjoys enormous respect inside and beyond the real estate community. His appreciation of Long Island’s challenges and potential are unmatched and his skill at forging alliances that benefit the common good has been demonstrated time and again. As a result, ABLI will continue to be a force for progressive action during his tenure.”

ABLI’s President Jan Burman (left) is congratulated by prior ABLI leader Ed Blumenfeld of BDG, Ltd.

ABLI Commends Nassau County Executive Mangano for his Challenge to the Private Sector: "Show me your Best Plans for the Coliseum and Surrounding Mitchel Field"
Posted on: August 03, 2011
 

 

The Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) today commended Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano for decision to seek proposals to redevelop the 77-acre site surrounding Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.  

In a statement issued by his office, the County Executive is encouraging all parties with privately-financed proposals to submit them to the County immediately.  He said proposals must address job creation, quality of life and revenue.  Although all proposals will be considered, the County is seeking development that complements existing recreational, sporting and commercial assets at Eisenhower Park, Mitchel Park and Museum Row.  

ABLI Executive Board member Vincent Polimeni stated. “The County Executive and ABLI have always shared a common goal of economic development and the preservation of the Islanders on Long Island. How we achieve that goal was the point in dispute. Today the County Executive has said to the development community, `Show me.’”

“He has appropriately challenged the development community to present to him innovative ideas and options. We accept that challenge and look forward to working in whatever way possible to move forward in creating an economic environment for growth, private investment and union jobs,” said Polimeni.   

The ABLI board member observed, “The referendum was nothing more than a passing milestone in how best to achieve our mutual purpose. We salute Mr. Mangano for his continued commitment to the future of the county and his dogged persistence in finding a path that works best for the taxpayer.”  

For over twenty years, the ABLI is one proud to be one of the region’s most forceful advocates for responsible business growth. Its members represent some $20 billion in commercial, residential, industrial and retail space throughout Nassau and Suffolk. Their members also include some of the region’s leading land use attorneys as well as tax and financial experts. The organization is uncompromising in its pursuit of public policies that encourage environmentally sustainable development projects, the ability to create new jobs, permit new investment opportunities throughout the region and the retention of existing industries on Long Island.

ABLI Insists Mitchel Field Development Surrounding a New Coliseum Needs to be an OPen Competitive Bid
Posted on: May 20, 2011
 

The ABLI agreed that economic development within the Hub is an imperative but the devil is not only in the details, including a proposed referendum on a $400 million bond issue, but how the development rights surrounding the coliseum have seemingly been bequeathed to Islander owner Charles Wang.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano came armed with facts and surprising passion in seeking the support of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) for his plan to rebuild the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum stating, “After a decade of talk the status quo isn’t an option.”

 

“Mr. Wang originally won a competition with a plan he dubbed “the Lighthouse.”  That plan is dead, gone and almost forgotten.  Given that this is public land, and taxpayers have a lot riding on its development, there needs to be a new competition that brings out the smartest, most effective use of the property. Few would debate the need for a new coliseum that would help restore attendance for Islander games but the surrounding 40 acres need a real rate of return for the taxpayer that only an open RFP would bring,” stated ABLI executive director Desmond Ryan.
 

Mangano said the Hub plan is part a series of economic initiatives he has undertaken in an effort to spark investment, jobs and new tax producing developing. He also touched on encouraging Homeland Security related companies to open their doors in Nassau County along with film production studios and a racino at Belmont Race Track in Elmont.
 

“No one knows better than the members of the ABLI that high property taxes will destroy the economy of Nassau County and that the ability to generate jobs lies with the private sector. Accordingly, we stand for Mitchel Field economic growth but the process needs to be open, transparent and competitive. Otherwise we are looking at an insider game of winks and nods over property that is Nassau County’s last best hope,” continued Ryan.
 

Ryan says the ABLI will review the current contract between the County and Mr. Wang to establish the criteria for any new development proposal by the Islander owner to replace his failed “Lighthouse.”  The group will also review the financial structure of the proposed bond deal the taxpayer will be asked to approve on August 1st.
 

The ABLI is made up of companies holding some $25 billion worth of commercial, retail, industrial and residential properties throughout Long Island. It is an advocate of orderly economic growth for the purpose of protecting our region’s quality of life.

 

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano meets with ABLI members to discuss Mitchel Field development.

© 2014-2019 by Association for a Better Long Island

 

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