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.