MINEOLA, NY (CBSNewYork) – Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos says he supports development of the county hub, but he’s not ready to endorse the $400 million sports and entertainment complex proposal going to a referendum in August – at least, not yet.
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“I think the proposal needs further negotiation, further revision in order to adequately protect the taxpayer,” Maragos said Thursday.
He says there are still too many terms to the agreement with the New York Islanders that need to be negotiated but he’s confident the deal can be finalized to the benefit of the taxpayer in time for the Aug. 1 vote.
“The Comptroller’s Office will work with the County Executive and his administration to make sure that the County Executive’s commitment is met to redevelop the hub and to protect the taxpayers from cost,” Maragos said.
Isladers owner Charles Wang has promised to pay the county $14 million a year in rent and any cost overruns but the county needs more than just a promise.
“It’s not a matter of trust it’s a matter now of a legal agreement for both sides to live up to their commitments,” Maragos said. “I want to see it in writing and I want to see a signature on it from somebody that has the credit ability to pay.”
Robert Valli, President of the Association for a New Nassau Coliseum, said even critical reports, like Maragos’, admit that the coliseum deal, in general, is a good one.
“There is some trepidation as to where it goes from here but so far no one is saying, ‘No, we can not do this, this is a stupid idea, we’re not going to agree to it,'” Valli told 1010 WINS. “Everyone agrees that this has the potential to be fantastic.”
Valli adds three separate entities have analyzed the proposal and not one has been against it.
There has been speculation if there isn’t a new arena to replace the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the New York Islanders may leave Long Island when their lease is up.