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Town Board rejects proposed litigation against Suffolk IDA

The Riverhead Town Board voted down a proposal Tuesday to authorize litigation aimed at overturning the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency’s 10-year tax break package for the Suffolk County Community College Culinary Arts building on East Main Street. 

The vote was 3-2, with council members Jodi Giglio and Tim Hubbard voting to pursue litigation.

“Twenty-year tax breaks should not become a habitual practice,” Ms. Giglio said.

Mr. Hubbard questioned why the building owner sought Suffolk County tax breaks when there is a Riverhead IDA. Culinary Arts Riverhead LLC had already received a 10-year incentive from the county IDA, officials said. 

The county IDA had previously granted Culinary Arts Riverhead LLC a variety of incentives. Ms. Giglio said the building owner paid about $30,000 in taxes this year and would have owed $129,231 without the abatement. 

She is hoping to get a state law passed banning people from towns that have their own IDA from pursuing tax breaks elsewhere.  

The Culinary Arts building is owned by Ron Parr and leased to the college.

Councilman Jim Wooten said filing a lawsuit “is a little heavy-handed.”  

“I think it’s been a good addition to our Main Street,” Councilwoman Catherine Kent said. 

“They’ve been a good addition but I don’t think we should have to fight them to get their taxes paid,” Mr. Hubbard said. 

The town, the Riverhead school district and the county IDA reached a consensus in January on the tax breaks.

“Suffolk, I don’t feel, needs to be operating in the town, when we have our town IDA we would use,” Mr. Hubbard said.

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