With the days winding down to the Aug. 1 vote on the Nassau Coliseum and minor league ballpark referendum, Nassau County representatives held an open forum Q&A at Tuesday.
Speakers included Director of Research Eden Laikin, Christopher Melvin of Nixon Peabody, Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.
Many local residents were on hand at the high school auditorium with their own views and questions about the proposal.
Frank Borrelli, owner of restaurant that sits near the coliseum was worried about how much the county would lose if the new arena was not built.
“What do we do then? The hotels, deli’s and convenience stores will all be affected.” Borrelli said. “Also, as an East Meadow homeowner, a new arena would only increase the value of my property.”
On the other side of the issue was Mike Turner of East Meadow who questioned the scheduled date of the vote.
“Why August 1?” Turner asked. “Why are they not sending out reminders of when and where to vote? They send out reminders for normal elections. If they want a fair vote, they need to remind people.”
The forum started with a presentation that went over the details of the new proposed complex. Many residents reacted with outbursts and felt their questions where not answered clearly.
During the meeting some of the main points addressed were the following:
- The $58 property tax increase to fund the county portion of the construction is based on a $450,000 home property. The tax will reflect the value of the home and last the full 30 years of the bond.
- The county will get 11.5 percent of all gross revenue that is made on the complex. At a minimum, the county will get $14 million a year from the Islanders if the 11.5 percent is under $14 million.
- If the coliseum construction comes to more than the proposed $350 million, then the Islanders will pay the remaining cost.
- The county is open to other development opportunities if the developers are ready to finance their plans and are ready to build now.
- With a minor league ball and Islanders hockey games, the area will have year-long sporting events available as well as concerts and other entertainment events.
- This is an investment and with any investment there are risks and the county has worked to make the risks as minimal as possible.
- The August 1 date was a date that was picked as a general consensus as the vote is strong enough to stand on its own and allows more people able to go and vote including college students.
- Property taxes will increase if there is no new arena due to a loss of sales tax revenue from the arena.
For more facts on the referendum you can visit the county web site.