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Hempstead Village looks to become Long Island’s third city

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Hempstead Village in Nassau County is exploring the idea of becoming a city, which officials say would bring in more state aid and tax revenue.

Hempstead Village is among 22 villages in the Town of Hempstead. If approved, Hempstead would become the third city on Long Island, joining Long Beach and Glen Cove — both in Nassau, as well.

According to village data, Hempstead Village received under $150,000 in annual sales tax funding between 2018 and 2021. During that same period, Long Beach and Glen Cove received between $1.4 million and $2 million in sales tax revenue, despite both having a smaller tax base of about 30,000 or fewer residents.

The state budget division data also shows that the village receives less than $650,000 in annual state funding, compared with about $3 million each year for Long Beach and Glen Cove.

A Newsday analysis of data from village and city budget reports shows that the village could gain millions of dollars in tax revenue as a city, because of a funding formula that favors cities and towns over villages. Cities and towns get a larger share of sales tax distributed by the county, while villages only receive a fraction of it.

“As a village, right now funding has to go through the county [Nassau], and through the town [of Hempstead], and then goes to the village. But if the village was a city we would get that funding directly,” said Waylyn Hobbs Jr., the mayor of Hempstead, at a community forum on Sept. 22.

Cityhood could have significant impacts on the village’s 55,000 residents, most of whom are Black and Hispanic. Residents would no longer have to pay up to $850,000 each year in property taxes to the Town of Hempstead.

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Some residents are apprehensive about the village becoming a city. They worry it could increase population, gentrify Hempstead and cause residents to lose out on town services, like parks, beaches and access to senior programs. This could increase residents' costs of living.

Village officials on Sept. 6 appointed a 10-person commission to explore the possibility of becoming a city. The committee plans to draft a charter that will lay the groundwork for cityhood. The process could take up to two years to complete.

"There is nothing that has been etched in stone as we explore becoming a city," Hobbs said. "I said when I became mayor, I was going to do everything I could to get Hempstead the money it deserves."

Sydney is a former news intern at WSHU.