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Coliseum Redevelopment Vote Set for Aug. 1

Mangano signs bill for county-wide vote that Islanders owner calls “first step” in economic recovery.

The fate of the Nassau Coliseum is in the hands of the voters.

Following an 11-7 vote by the Nassau Legislature, County Executive Ed Mangano signed a bill that calls for a county-wide vote on Aug. 1 to fund a $400 million sports and entertainment complex with a new coliseum as its focal point.

“This bill’s not just for Islanders, it’s for Long Islanders,” Mangano said signing the bill as New York Islanders owner Charles Wang sat next to him.

It’s “the first step of the catalyst that gets us going again,” Wang said of the Long Island economy.

The Legislature passed the measure along party lines with one exception: Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, joined Republicans in favor of the measure.

Democrats have cited a lack of information as the reason for their opposition, while Republicans and trade unions support what they argue would generate thousands of jobs both pre- and post-construction and stimulate the Nassau economy.

The Legislature can still stop the vote by July 17, which is 15 days prior to the referendum.

In order to pay for the new arena, the county would have to borrow $400 million worth of bonds.

If approved by voters, the cost of the bonds would add between $48 and $58 in taxes to each home for 30 years.

Any borrowing would also have to be approved by NIFA, the state oversight board in charge of the county's finances, which has expressed concerns over the proposal.

The bonds would reportedly be repaid through revenue generated from the coliseum through food, ticket and merchandise sales.

An tUasal Airgead May 31, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Without detailed financial information provided well in advance of the vote, the only intelligent choice is NO!
John Rennhack June 01, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Gulotta-nomics once again. But Mangano KNOWS that NIFA won't want to approve $400million ($900million really) in new debt. Mangano, the Mayberry Machiavelli he is wants to paint NIFA as the bad guy in all this and he can wash his hands of any problems with the Islanders leaving and have a punching bag leading into his re-election.
An tUasal Airgead June 01, 2011 at 03:29 AM
You give them too much credit; they aren't as smart as they (or you) think they are. As far as NIFA - they may not want to, but if enough uninformed people vote yes because they drank the Kool-aid, NIFA will go along. No one wants a Coliseum without a team. Unfortunately this proposal is a political dung pile, perpetrated by people who have no concern for residents of Nassau County.
John Rennhack June 01, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Oh, I'm not saying they are smart. The Mayberry Machiavellian moves for each step is laughable. This "development" is the trow-back to the hodge-podge way LI towns boomed. No long-term thinking into what this property means as a Hub. All the pieces must be planned or it'll look like just another mess. We need a convention center/arena to bring jobs and tax revenue. The final product should have the new arena busy most of the year with games, concerts, shows, conventions, etc. Steady work, not part-time work. Create a destination, not just a place you go once a year (for the average LIer) or less. The turn-out will be middling. How many active Islanders fans live in Nassau? The attendance to the games are from the boroughs and Suffolk plus opposing team fans. The fans had no impact whasoever in local elections in response to the Lighthouse debacle in ToH. If there is an organized effort to defeat the referendum, it can happen.
Doug Tyburski June 01, 2011 at 05:31 AM
John, how do you come up with the $900 million figure? Entertain me. Not sure if you are aware, but Wang is going to pay any additional money over $400 million, if the arena and stadium come in over the $400 million estimate to build.
John Rennhack June 01, 2011 at 06:24 AM
30 year Bond with interest? Bond buyers aren't in it for charity. And I'm being kind considering the county bond rating downgrade. We'll see what rate the county gets.
Hollingsworth June 01, 2011 at 11:25 AM
Nobody knows the details yet, but even if NIFA finds that the numbers will work and there will be enough ticket sales revenue to repay the estimated $400 million, with our bond rating so low, I doubt very much that we'll even be able to get a $400 million bond at all.
John Carway June 01, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Most of the kneejerk comments so far are merely the out of work and out of power Dems whining because tbeir side wasn't able to move this project off dead center. The economics are simple. You have to spend money to make money. Mangano has the guts t o make the tough decisions and take the risk tl get the jkb done. Admittedly its our money he wants to risk, but he is putting his career on the line also. This project will do more to stimulate the Long Island economy than all of the fedefal stimulus plans thus far. It's time to bite the bullet and just go for it!
John Rennhack June 01, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Well, that was just a ridiculous comment. The reason the project was dead for years was because the Nassau GOP through Kate Murray made sure it would die. That was when Wang wanted to pay for the whole thing himself. Instead webget the genius Mangano who wants taxpayers tonfoot the bill... And stop the revenue sharing stuff 'cause details are vague and there is no guarantee on any return. Taxpayers are responsible for the debt no matter what. Mangano should have had the guts to support the project years ago. He has no guts, he's desperate. And t stimulate the local economy we need more than just a sports complex.
John Rennhack June 01, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Nassau will be able to get the money but it'll be at a higher interest rate. That will hurt the argument to NIFA. I don't think the county would be able to getbany more money after the arena bonding. Other projects may just die.
R. Silver June 01, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Ridiculous for our county to borrow $400 million to pay for a corporate entity's interests. Our county is under water now and we are saddled with the highest taxes anywhere. If private business wants to pay for it, they can pay for it out of their profits, not out of our hides. If you have friends or relatives living out of NY, ask them what their property taxes, electricity rates etc are. I'm sure they live where professional sports and performing arts are available without having outrageous taxes to deal with. If we continue to allow our county government to tax and spend foolishly,not only will your parents not afford to live here but you and your children won't be able to do so either! That's when property values and community values will really sink!
Nassau Taxpayer June 01, 2011 at 02:01 PM
If you have to ask this question, you still don't understand why NIFA was brought in to monitor and run the County's finances. Republicans have -- over and over again -- proven to be IRRESPONSIBLE. Mangano is NO DIFFERENT. The correct answer is 'NO'.
Frank June 01, 2011 at 02:30 PM
R. Silver. There's no use explaining sense to those that lack sense. The vote is on August 1st. Just vote No and hopefully there's enough sense out there to prove the "brain drain theory" wrong.
MerrickGuy June 01, 2011 at 02:50 PM
John, your "economics" goes out the windows because if it was really a clear win, Wang would fund the entire project himself. Apparently, the project was not profitable in its current form without help from tax payers funded at tax-exempt yields. This is a utter waste of public funds.
MerrickGuy June 01, 2011 at 03:03 PM
I am voting "NO" on August 1 and here are some of my thoughts: (1) Nassau credit rating was just removed from watchlist negative by Moody's and the budget process has been ceased by NIFA. Adding more debt to the project is certainly not going to help it in the short-term and if the assumptions used in additional tax revenue proceeds appear to be inaccurate (which they usually are) this will not help out in the long-run either. (2) From the surface, the deal appears to be slam dung for Wang while Nassau residents are left 'holding the bag'. Wang gets all the equity (and all the upside) while Nassau gets all the debt and the risk. No professional investor would fund such a deal except politicians. Why can't the taxpayers get some warrants in the deal or some ownership? (3) We do not need a casino in Nassau County. Casinos are not the type of environment we want to bring into our family community. Notice, Suffolk County wanted no part of the Casino but of course Nassau jumped at the opportunity! (4) Wang's manage of the Islanders over the last few years has been a joke. The WSJ did a story on all of the terrible trades. This is who we are taking advice from? If you can't run a sports-team monopoly on Long Island which has over 1 million people, you can't run a business. Vote NO on Aug 1, your wallet will thank you!
Frank June 01, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Here are the numbers Funds Needed : $400,000,000 Debt Service Reserve : $45,455,000 Cost of Issuance Financed : $9,091,000 Total Bonds Issued : $454,550,000 portion not finance-able : $9,091,000 Gross Monthly Payment : $3,524,121 Less Reserve Interest : $265,154 Net Monthly Payment : $3,258,967 You need 42 million/year to pay off this bond in 20 years. View link on the stats on the NY Islanders from Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/31/hockey-values-09_New-York-Islanders_312071.html Key takeaways: Revenue $62 mil Operating Inc. $-5.6 mil Player Expenses $40 mil Gate Receipts $22 mil (aka ticket sales) We need $42 million/yr, Islanders produce $22 million/ yr. Q.E.D
Vincent June 01, 2011 at 03:05 PM
If Mr. Wang wants a place for his team to play let him fund it. The days of the taxpayer funding stadiums enabling rich owners to get richer should be over. And BTW John Carway you say Mangano is putting his carrer on the line? Who are you kidding?
Vincent June 01, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Frank, You settled it. The vote is NO.
PitBull June 01, 2011 at 04:11 PM
STOP THE INSANITY VOTE NO
Robert Panzenbeck III June 01, 2011 at 04:13 PM
I can't believe this is even a question. Time and again taxpayers fall for the same tired rhetoric from rent seeking businessmen trying to get the government to finance their risk. Publicly funded stadium projects are always a net loser for taxpayers. Ask the people in Pittsburgh and Cleveland who were promised a renaissance that never materialized. Mangano is another in a long line of empty suits. It's no surprise that Wang is looking to cash in on his naivete.
PitBull June 01, 2011 at 04:22 PM
This Picture says a MILLION WORDS, we are going to screw the Taxpayers and they can't do a thing about it. We can, Rally the Chuckwagons and ride though the towns like Paul Revere spread the word VOTE NO AUG.1st
Several great points 1. Long-term, creative solutions need to be implemented in the planning and financing the project 2 .Project needs a convention center and Tram spur from Hempstead to be viable 3. The right way to make the $ back is to drew $ for outside our tax base- i.e Roosevelt Field 4. Nassau politicians have to show citizens and future outside investors that we can get things done. Besides raise taxes.
Daniel Garcia June 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM
I like the fact each NC household will pay an additional $50 per year to pay for this albatross. then according to the county executive the NC stands to make $14m. Here's what I don't like. 1] The fact that once county begins raking in the [pie in the sky] cash windfall, each household will continue to pay the extra $50 per. Politicians always find a way to keep any monies they abscond 2] Islanders. Vote no in August.

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