Hempstead to favor veteran-owned businesses
The Town of Hempstead does more than thank veterans for their services and sacrifices with words, and proclamations and ceremonies.
It “walks the walk” with concrete programs such as a dedicated veterans counselor helping guide former service members through the thicket of regulations that the federal Veterans Administration puts up. In addition, it offers discounts to parks facilities and rec programs, participates in a real property tax exemption program, and offers free pet adoptions for veterans who wish to adopt a companion from the town’s animal shelter.
Thus, it was only proper that Levittown—the hamlet where many veterans settled into their first homes, thanks to a nation’s gratitude and largesses via the GI Bill—was the setting for the town to announce its latest effort on behalf of veterans. Officials gathered at the Levittown American Legion Post 1711 on July 16 to unveil a proposal granting local veteran-owned small businesses and local service-disabled veteran-owned businesses preference in the awarding of the thousands of public contracts the town signs annually.
Supervisor Laura Gillen was joined with Councilwoman Erin King-Sweeney, Councilman Dennis Dunne Sr., Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana and local veterans.
According to a press release, “The local preference policy would grant local veteran-owned small businesses located in Nassau County that submit a bid within 7.5 percent of the next overall lowest bidder, when the lowest bidder is an entity located outside of Nassau County, preference in the awarding of local town contracts.”
“We are aiming to expand opportunities, and in many cases help ease the transition to civilian life for our brave service men and women,” said Gillen. “Service to our country deserves to be rewarded.”
“As a Vietnam veteran and a town councilman, I am always looking for ways in which to help those who have answered the call of duty,” said Dunne. “I am proud that this initiative gives back to our veterans who have done so much to protect us, and I look forward to providing an opportunity for local veteran-owned businesses to work with the Town of Hempstead.”
According to spokesperson Michael Fricchione, businesses would need to be registered as either a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and/or a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) through the Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for bidding. He noted that New York State uses that list, and business owners can contact the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
Nassau County is home to more than 75,000 veterans and 11,000 veteran-owned firms.
How To Get Help
Veterans Services Counselor Rick Gales assists veterans and their families with filing claims for veterans’ benefits. He can be reached at the Hempstead Town Hall Lobby, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead. Call 516-812-3506.
The town participates in a real property tax reduction program for eligible veterans. For program requirements, visit toh.li/tax-exemptions. Applications must be filed with the Nassau County Department of Assessment. Call 516-571-2490.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my claim receive the attention it deserves? The veterans benefits counselor is a dedicated, trained professional who will assist you in processing your claim in a timely manner.
Who is eligible to receive these benefits? All veterans who have served in the military, including Reservists and National Guard, and their dependents are eligible for VA benefits.
Do I have to be a resident of the Town of Hempstead to receive this assistance? No, any veteran or their dependents can use our service.
I just got out of the military and have medical conditions that are affecting me. What should I do? Schedule an appointment with our veterans counselor so that we may review your case and offer appropriate referrals.
What do I need to bring to our first meeting? Please bring your DD214 certificate and yourself.
How much does this service cost? Nothing. The cost has already been paid for with the service that veterans have provided to our country.
—From the Town of Hempstead website