Public Vote Monday On $400M Nassau Coliseum Renovation Project

UNIONDALE, NY (CBSNewYork) – The future of professional sports in Nassau County is likely riding on a public referendum on Monday, and both sides are making a full court press.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

“Nassau County has a property tax, school tax,  payroll tax, water tax, sewer tax, water tax, library tax, sanitation tax, and, on August 1st, you’ll vote on a $400 million Nassau Coliseum tax,” says a radio spot from a group against the renovation project for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Against The Project: Desmond Ryan Of The Association For A Better Long Island
(Download the full interview HERE)

Several polling locations have changed due to school construction. To find your polling place, click HERE.

On the other side, union members have been going door to door trying to get residents to vote in favor of the project. They say it will bring much-needed jobs. As for the tax issue? Islanders owner Charles Wang says that’s been overblown.

“The office of the legislative budget review has looked at it and it will cost, at the worst case, $13.80 per household,” Wang told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Friday.

For The Project: Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano
(Download the full interview HERE)

The Islanders have even purchased television time.

“The new Nassau sports and entertainment arena guarantees that the New York Islanders stay in Nassau. That means I can keep taking my kids to a hockey game, a concert, or a family show,” says their TV spot.

Wang said without a new arena, his team will likely leave Long Island.

“I think we have to face the reality of the situation,” he said. “We don’t have a place to play anymore, because come 2015, our lease expires. … We have to have a place to play, so we’re out of options basically.”

Even if the measure passes on Monday, the Nassau County legislature and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority still have to approve the new complex.

The project would also include a minor league baseball team.

Do you think the project should go forward? Sound off in our comments section.

More from Sophia Hall
Comments

One Comment

  1. Justin Seine says:

    Let those who stand to profit pay for this. If it such a good deal let them put their money (not my money) where their mouthes are. Anyone who believes that there will not be large cost overruns and ensuing legal battles needs a reality check! Guess who will pick up these add-on costs? Why the taxpayer, of course. This is a typical example of the New Amreican Socialsim, where profits are privitized and costs and risks are socialized! I’ll have none of it!

  2. Grouchy1959 says:

    Pay higher taxes to watch poor quality hockey – Why? Vote NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Summer DiMaggio says:

      You’ll pay higher taxes if this gets voted down and the coliseum loses it’s main tenant (who has been footing the bill for all repairs) and the building can’t sustain itself with the few entertainers that are willing to play there.

      Would you rather:
      $14/yr tax increase, 3k jobs and a destination point for Long Island
      or
      $18/yr tax increase, thousands lose a paycheck, a loss of $243.4 million/yr for Nassau, and 77 acres of undeveloped asphalt

      This isn’t about hockey. It’s about an arena that houses family entertainment year round. We can’t keep boarding up Long Island’s businesses. It’s time for progress.

      1. moe says:

        Then develop Belmont as a casino as a stand-alone investment. You can have family friendly areas along with businesses being developed in that area. The only thing one would have to watch for is the competition from the Aqueduct casino.

        This investment with the Islanders is a losing proposition unless they can bring in a team that will bring more fans who are willing to pay for the price of the seats.

        Which leads me to ask: What have the Islanders done to create fans? I don’t hear boo about why I should come to see one of their games or get my kids interested. To be honest, sometimes I forget that they even exist.

  3. Quebec City Islanders says:

    Let the Islanders move to a city in Canada like Quebec City or Hamilton where the population will sell out the arena in minutes for the entire season. Don’t spend taxpayer money on a franchise that very few follow or purchase tickets for. VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. joeyd says:

      Maybe nobody goes to see the islanders because like me they can’t stand to sit in those pathetic seats that you think one day will just collapse.

  4. Bob Fowler says:

    to Mark C and the rest of the puppets…

    In a Capitalistic society, businesses are run, independent of government welfare. Asking the government to provide an arena, with the promise of returning taxes (which will never be returned to the coffers), violates this.

    Should I expect to see a government bail-out of my business, or can I too make a deal with the government to have them build me a building based upon speculation that, in the future, I will generate more taxes and jobs? Capitalists used to issue bonds to investors or sell shares of their businesses to raise funds. Now they all turn to we, the taxpayers, and the politicians that are in their pockets fork over the money in an attempt to, as Mel Brooks said in Blazing Saddles, protect their phony baloney jobs.

    Heck, f the people of Nassau County have enough to lend another $400 million, can I get $1.2 million to relocate my business there? I too will pay taxes and create jobs.

    1. Barbara Kesselman says:

      I vote no on the Coliseum budget

  5. Grouchy1959 says:

    Vote NO and let the Islanders go !!!!! The sooner the better !!!!!

    1. Summer DiMaggio says:

      If you vote no, the whole arena goes. This isn’t about hockey.

  6. mak says:

    Why would anybody trust these people with taxpayer’s money? They have proven over and over again that they have no discipline, believe in cronyism, and help themselves to the money that we fork over.

    Investing in this coliseum would be like investing with Madoff.

  7. Bob says:

    I urge Nassau County residents to think of the common sense here. Is a brand new building and a professional sports franchise valuable to a community or not? Look at any area around where a new arena has been constructed and you will find a rejuvenated booming area that most people look back and say it was worth it. The simpletons, the people who don;t have all the information, and the miserable people are voting no. The upbeat, optimistic, common sense people are voting Yes. Vote Yes. Remove this team and this deteriorating venue that Wang pours money into repairs for every year and watch more of your kids move even faster. It is amazing that some people want to take away an enormous revenue generator for the County. Don’t you think your taxes will be raised to fill the gaping hole of revenue lost if the Islanders and all the other events that come with it leave? When the new arena in Brooklyn is built, the current Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is supposed to lose even more value and concerts. Rebuild this place and keep Nassau County a rocking place to live with a professional sports identity and a huge revenue generator. Vote Yes

    1. mak says:

      Really, how many Islander fans are out there? 20?

      They are asking us to fork over $400,000,000.00 that we can’t afford so some guy can have a playhouse for his hockey team.

      And the $14,000,000.00 a year that he’s supposed to give to Nassau County for 30 years? That is NOTHING compared to what he is getting. That’s probably the value on ONE of his houses.

      Puh-lease … let’s get real.

      1. jester9881 says:

        This goes way beyond Islander fans (who BTW have a yearly avg attendance at 1.2 million, just slightly higher than your projection of 20). That aside, the 400m is being spent on a new building owned by the taxpayers, on land owned by the taxpayers. Why should Wang use his own money to build an arena owned by someone else, then have to pay rent to use it? That 14m he is guaranteed to give taxpayers (at minimum) along with 4m in taxes accounts for 70% of the cost of building a new arena. Your tax burden end up going to $13.80 MAXIMUM after that if absolutely ZERO revenue is brought in. The alternative is, vote no and see the Coliseum’s main tenant leave, shutting it’s doors and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue causing your taxes to go UP a MINIMUM if $16 a year. If you’re so concerned bout taxes, you should vote YES.

      2. mak says:

        Jester, 1.2 million is TOTAL attendance. For home games, the breakdown of area teams in 2010 is as follows:

        – Yankees: 3.7 million total, 81 games, 32,982 average game attendance
        – Mets: 2.6 million 81 games, 32,401 average game attendance
        (source: espn.go.com/mlb/attendance/_/year/2010)

        Giants: 632,156; 16 games, 79,019 average game attendance
        (source: espn.go.com/nfl/attendance)

        Knicks: Total – 799,550 with an average of 19,01 per game

        Rangers: 742,432 total, 41 games, average 18,108 per game

        Islanders: 453,456 total, 41 games, with an average of 11,059 per game.
        (source: espn.go.com/nhl/attendance)

        So, there you go in black and white. The Islanders are a dying team and hockey is not gaining any new fans. Why should we throw money at this?

        Nassau County has a history of ripping off the taxpayers and using our money in an unprudent manner. This is a bad investment.

      3. adam says:

        Actually hockey is getting plenty of new fans, the 2011 playoffs were the most watched a very, very long time. In addition, the Islanders are becoming a better team each year, if the franchise is going to die it’s going to be because this new building is not built, and they leave entirely.

        That aside, it’s not all about hockey, entertainers come to the Coliseum to perform and they bring in revenue to the county and people from outside the county to stay in our hotels and shop at our businesses. It’s not just about the Islanders, it’s about all those acts that come through.

        Your taxes go up either way, it’s just up to you to decide how much they actually go up. Voting yes guarantees that they go up a lesser, more reasonable amount.

    2. Justin Seine says:

      Nobody is stopping you or any of the others who want this deal from kicking in to make this happen. I’d rather watch paint dry than watch the Islanders play. When in the course of human events has a taxpayer subsidized sports arena actually worked to the benefit of any taxpayer except those who are in on the deal???? Like NEVER!

  8. Rich Ward says:

    Charles Wang is a a billionaire. Well, let’s not exaggerate. He’s worth about $900,000,000.00, plus he owns about 55 properties in the Oyster Bay area.
    He does not need my money, and he does not need yours either.

    Mr. Wang, don’t threaten me. Mangano’s a wuss — I’m not.

    VOTE NO VOTE NO VOTE NO VOTE NO VOTE NO

  9. P says:

    The Mets paid for their Faility
    The Yankees paid for their Facility
    The Giants paid for theri Facility

    Let the Islanders pay for their Facility…

    1. Mark C says:

      Wrong! and apparently you don’t read facts that you don’t want to. The County would share profits in this deal and the Giants did not build their own stadium. Geez, the repetitiveness and blatant misleading and leaving out of critical facts by the no side of this argument is incredible. Several good points have been made by the Yes side throughout this debate.

    2. jester9881 says:

      All those teams own their own building, they also used BONDS to pay for construction….. and atleast one of those teams took park land away from the city. Your post is all kinds of fail, filled with false information.

    3. Dale Auburn says:

      No, the Mets and Yankees DID NOT pay for their facilities. City taxpayers paid for those facilities, and now the teams are keeping the City’s share of the revenues.

      Our present is Nassau’s future. Just wait and see.

    4. Summer DiMaggio says:

      Wang tried to pay for a new facility for 10 years and the Town of Hempstead wouldn’t approve it.
      Now what?

  10. Steve says:

    Billy wrote, “Wang is required to pay the County $14 Million a Year for at least 30 Years at a MINIMUM!! Is this what Nassau County has fallen to? Are the residents there really going to let there only big professional sports franchise leave the area? Are residents really going to let the well over 2,000 jobs walk away? What about the jobs created? Are residents really going to let all the tax revenue and the over $200 Million a year injected into Nassau’s economy walk away? Your Taxes will Definitely go up if the Islanders leave and that tax revenue and money into the economy disappears! If the residents Vote Yes, they have a good shot at lowering their tax burden in the long run. I really hope Nassau Residents Vote Yes and learn from the mistakes of other places that have lost the revenue and capital in the market that help to provide the benefits so many other residents utilize.”

    – Well Said Plus there are Auto Shows, Trade Shows, Job Fairs, Other Sports and various other activities that take place the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

    1. T says:

      VOTE NO! VOTE NO! VOTE! NO!

    2. Bob Fowler says:

      Taxes for Nassau County are almost usurious already, and now in this age of financial uncertainty, tax payers are going to be asked to come up with $400 million more? INSANE!!!

      Just look at who is pushing this project…unions and politicians. Who are more irresponsible with public money than unions and politicians? If NY was aright to work state, do you think unions would be reaching out to the public for approval of this? If any taxes generated by the renovated Coliseum were mandated to be returned to tax payers, without the government being able to divert them, do you think they would be hawking this idea?

      Losing the Islanders will not spell the end of the world for Long Island, and if they would leave because Wang can’t extort a new/renovated arena, let them go. Super rich don’t deserve working class money while we face financial ruin. Mr. Wang, if you want to fix up the place, reach into your pocket and fix it, then out a quality product out there for the public, at reasonable prices, and you will reap the rewards.

      1. Mark C says:

        I guess Bob Fowler doesn’t know that Wang pays for repairs every year to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Then Bob takes a shot at the product, when it is a well known fact that good players do not want to play in the current Coliseum. Bob Fowler spews a lot of rhetoric, but cites no numbers, and ignores economic facts, and tries to encourage class warfare somehow!?!?! The “No” side is sounding more and more desperate as this vote nears. Voting Yes is a no-brainer when presented with the facts from both sides.

      2. Summer DiMaggio says:

        Wang was willing to foot the whole bill himself and fought for the right to do so for 10 years but the town denied him. Do you have another viable option? No one else is stepping up to develop this land.

        Would you rather:
        $14/yr tax increase, 3k jobs and a destination point for Long Island

        or

        $18/yr tax increase, thousands lose a paycheck, a loss of $243.4 million/yr for Nassau, and 77 acres of undeveloped asphalt

        This isn’t about hockey. It’s about an arena that houses family entertainment year round. We can’t keep boarding up Long Island’s businesses. It’s time for progress.

    3. Lawn-Guy Land says:

      Billy wrote, “Wang is required to pay the County $14 Million a Year for at least 30 Years at a MINIMUM!!

      Read up on the history of the use of public financing for sports franchises. It’s obvious that either [1] Wang will “forget” to pay, or [2] the County will first let him deduct every expense he’s ever incurred, so that each year’s payment becomes ZERO (or NEGATIVE).

  11. dan says:

    come on nassau voters, vote yes. even with cost overruns and over estimating an increase from $14 to even $100 a year, is it really that much? i live in nj and a devils fan, but have seen my share of tax increases. the convenience of having a venue nearby for other events far outweighs the cost of heading to msg. keep the islanders on long island! dont lose them to another city that has no idea what a freakin penalty shot is.

    1. Jester9881 says:

      Wang is responsible for all cost over runs, the MAXIMUM tax burden is $13.80 a year. That means that if they build it, and don’t sell a single ticket, hot dog or parking spot. For every dollar generated, the tax burden goes down.

  12. D:A says:

    We will be paying this tax forever, even after the bond holders have been pay.
    This project will be a cost-plus commitment. I can see us paying over a billion dollars for this project. We should not be suporting socialized sports. We should not be subsidizing million dollar sports salaries. And we should certainly not be subsidizing millionaire incomes. What do you think this is, the federal governmnent! Voe NO!

  13. ace11 says:

    yeah..that’s real smart thinking

    spend your tax dollars because of some dumb hockey team

    thats whats wrong with this country

    IF wang wants it…let him pay the whole thing

    1. Steve says:

      Billy wrote, “Wang is required to pay the County $14 Million a Year for at least 30 Years at a MINIMUM!! Is this what Nassau County has fallen to? Are the residents there really going to let there only big professional sports franchise leave the area? Are residents really going to let the well over 2,000 jobs walk away? What about the jobs created? Are residents really going to let all the tax revenue and the over $200 Million a year injected into Nassau’s economy walk away? Your Taxes will Definitely go up if the Islanders leave and that tax revenue and money into the economy disappears! If the residents Vote Yes, they have a good shot at lowering their tax burden in the long run. I really hope Nassau Residents Vote Yes and learn from the mistakes of other places that have lost the revenue and capital in the market that help to provide the benefits so many other residents utilize.”

      – Well Said Plus there are Auto Shows, Trade Shows, Job Fairs, Other Sports and various other activities that take place the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

    2. Summer DiMaggio says:

      Educate yourself. He tried to build a new arena with his own money for 10 years and the town wouldn’t let him.

      Hockey is only in that building 41 days of the year. Without an arena the county stand to lose $243.4 million a year that will be made up for by YOUR taxes going up.

  14. Chris says:

    Vote Yes. This is a very good deal for us. Read about it here: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2010/6-22-2011.htm

  15. Gamer says:

    Oh really? I don’t think so.
    Teachers are getting laid off, and programs for kids are being cut. No way do I want to contribute one dime of my taxes to this. If it can’t get built using private funding, then it shouldn’t get built.
    I will be at the polls on Monday and will be encouraging friends to do the same.
    Shame on you, Republicans.

    1. Pete says:

      Really? Then why have the teachers unions openly supported this? And every other unions that oh yea…are the biggest backers of democrats. You people and politics are so disgusting. And I am a democrat btw. Well former after this. I will be sure to be voting independent in any upcoming elections. They are all crooks. It shouldn’t even matter about that

      It’s as simple as pay $13.80 a year worst case and have a professional team, with a destination for concerts, trade shows, Disney On Ice, the circus.

      Pay $16 a year and have nothing there.

      If you really need any more clarification on that then it is pointless to even talk to you about it since you are just that moronic and short sighted.

      1. Gamer says:

        Calling people names doesn’t elevate your cause. It just proves that you have nothing much to contribute.
        Go ahead and drink the cool aid…
        The private sector needs to pull its own weight. I thought Republicans were against tax increases….such hypocrites.
        Also, if you really believe the final cost of this project will be $400mil then YOU are the one who is the moron. Wait until the corrupt contractors dip into it …. the final bill will far exceed the estimates.

    2. Pete says:

      Well see I didn’t call you a moron. I said it would be moronic thinking if you believed that. But glad to see your reading comprehension skills are up to par. I’m glad it’s people like you that have a say in this situation.

      Because it appears to be that you haven’t read that in the agreement itself, Wang pays for all cost overruns. And the fact that you keep bringing this back into politics shows you are just that short sighted.

      “Hey this works perfectly, and has shown in numerous INDEPENDENT studies that it will greatly benefit Nassau County. Oh but wait, the other political party that I have no part of really didn’t come up with. We can’t do that then!”

      And in case you can’t grasp your mind around and independent study, it is done by groups who have absolutely 0 bias in the situation. But that doesn’t matter right?

      1. Jester9881 says:

        Gamer: It won’t matter if the over runs go into the billions and the whole cost of the project quadruples. Any and all cost over runs will be the responsibility of Charles Wang. Your taxes will go up no more than $13.80 a year because of this.

    3. Mark C says:

      Gamer, playing politics with the Coliseum. People like Gamer are hopeless. he couldn’t counter one argument of yours to vote Yes. Hopefully, he moves away when the vote is a resounding Yes.

  16. Billy says:

    Wang is required to pay the County $14 Million a Year for at least 30 Years at a MINIMUM!! Is this what Nassau County has fallen to? Are the residents there really going to let there only big professional sports franchise leave the area? Are residents really going to let the well over 2,000 jobs walk away? What about the jobs created? Are residents really going to let all the tax revenue and the over $200 Million a year injected into Nassau’s economy walk away? Your Taxes will Definitely go up if the Islanders leave and that tax revenue and money into the economy disappears! If the residents Vote Yes, they have a good shot at lowering their tax burden in the long run. I really hope Nassau Residents Vote Yes and learn from the mistakes of other places that have lost the revenue and capital in the market that help to provide the benefits so many other residents utilize.

  17. Pete says:

    Yea…Vote NO and watch your taxes shoot up even higher and have no venue on Long Island and watch all that money go to MSG and the Brooklyn arena for sports, concerts, family shows, trade shows. Good idea….

    It’s the backwards thinking of people like you that has got Nassau County into the mess in the first place.

  18. brandon says:

    vote yes!

    it will cost 13.80 if not one cent is made at the new arena in revenue!! (which is impossible)

    goto that concert or sporting event in MSG instead once a year and it will cost you more than that for the train ticket!! enough! take your blinders off!

    1. Lawn-Guy Land says:

      It will cost a lot more than that.

      Do you REALLY believe that Wang really “intends” to pay back anything? If you do, there’s a bridge for sale at the western end of Long Island.

  19. ace11 says:

    Vote NO…

    the last thing LI needs is a publicly funded arena

    1. Gamer says:

      You got that right!

      1. Summer DiMaggio says:

        I guess you guys don’t know what “revenue share” means. And “minimum of $14M /year” regardless of arena revenue.

        It’s not about “intention”, Mr. Lawn-Guy Land. It’s called a contract. One that is available for you to view online at that Nassau County website.

        This gets voted down, you’re all going to realize this doesn’t have anything to do with hockey or whether or not you ever intend on stepping foot into an arena.

    2. Jester9881 says:

      You mean a publicly owned arena? The arena and the land it’s on is owned by the County (taxpayers). Your taxes will go higher if the Islanders leave, than if you just vote YES to have the arena built. If the Islanders leave, the coliseum will shut down.

      1. Lawn-Guy Land says:

        No, a publicly FUNDED arena. The public will PAY for it, and Wang will OWN it, control all the revenue, and renege on his agreements with the County. (Compare with the Mets and Yankees.)

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