UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The  Nassau Interim Finance Authority said Thursday that if a referendum to $400 million to renovate the Nassau Coliseum passes, it would likely result in a 3.5 to 4 percent average property tax increase.

Nassau residents last year paid an average property tax bill of $11,500, nearly the highest in the country. The county portion of that tab is 16.4 percent. The majority goes to finance local schools, although the county has no say over school district spending.

Meanwhile, District Attorney Kathleen Rice is reviewing allegations that county employees were promoting the passage of an upcoming voter referendum.

That news follows a Newsday report that a large room in a county office building in Mineola appeared to be staffed by people making calls to promote the Aug. 1 referendum.  The newspaper took photos of posters in the room urging passage of the proposal.

The Association for a Better Long Island said it is opposed to the renovation plan and wants an investigation following the Newsday report.

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“They’re absolutely out there campaigning for, so this thing has definitely been rigged to be approved,” The Association’s Mark Hamer told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

State law bars public money from being spent for political ends. But an aide to County Executive Ed Mangano said the county was merely running an informational campaign, not promoting passage.

Desmond Ryan of the Association for a Better Long Island said there were too many unanswered questions to support the renovations.

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“What are the people in Muttontown going to be paying, $2,000, $3,000 more a year in taxes?” asked Ryan.

Mangano wants the new coliseum because he said it will bring in new jobs and union members said it will give them much-needed work.

Ryan said all that can still take place if New York Islanders owner Charles Wang pays for the project, not the taxpayers.

“Why are we being asked to finance the construction of a new coliseum for a billionaire?” asked Ryan. “He is entitled to a new coliseum. If he wants it, he should pay for it.”

Wang has said without a new home for his team, he’ll take them elsewhere when their lease is up.

Deputy County Executive Rob Walker is pushing for the New York Jets to train at the new complex.

A public vote on the project is set for August, but even after that, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority would still have to approve it.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (41)
  1. miki01 says:

    Let Wang pay for everything with the money he stole from his employees at CA. This county is so messed up even considering doing anything for this thief.

  2. T says:

    More taxes? Looks like a NO for me, let any major league franchis go at this point.

  3. tommy coconuts says:

    ONLY ON Long’ Island…. Hello Florida.. year 8 .. dont miss anything

  4. Bossy17 says:

    A lot of you people are so far off-base it’s scary. For 40 years the Islanders have been a symbol of pride on Long Island. You mean to tell me they don’t DESERVE their own day for an arena referendum vote? You think this arena should be attached to a political platform come November? Please. Have some perspective. Even if you hate hockey or the team at least show some respect for all this franchise has done for your economy since 1971. Too many NIMBY folks on Long Island. I don’t care what you pay in taxes. I live in Westchester and guarantee you I pay a hell of a lot more. You lose this franchise Nassau County will become just a stop-over to everywhere else.

    1. lydia says:

      Lond Islanders, do the right thing, except the New stadium to be billed, but only if the owner foots 98% of the bill, nothing less. But if he wants to foot the entire bill, watch out for the spool of twine, don’t get caught up in the strings attached.
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    2. joshsucks says:

      Really – the Islanders a source of pride? When was the last time they won the Stanley Cup? Oh, 1983. Sure I’m proud but isn’t that ancient history? When was the last time the dollar was worth more? Oh that’s ancient also.

      No Mr. Bossy 17, the Islanders don’t deserve their own day for an arena referendum. Yes the issue should be presented on Election Day. Do you have any idea how much this August 1 vote is going to cost? Who gets to pay for that?

      I see you are an avid hockey type. I have perspective. I live in Nassau and pay taxes here. I don’t hate hockey but I’ll be damned if anyone is going to shovel this down my throat.

      I know you don’t care what I pay in taxes. But what you pay in taxes in Westchester is not an issue and it’s a canard. Nobody asked you what you pay so don’t bring it up because nobody cares. Whether you pay more is also a canard. If you feel so strongly why don’t you lobby Mr. Wang and then everybody can stop in your wonderful county to watch men chase a hard rubber disc on the ice while batting each other with their sticks.

      There will be no permanent jobs created by a new arena. Construction workers will work for a year or two and then it’s over. They will be unemployed again.

    3. Larry The Cable Guy says:

      So you can have the team in Westchester. We don’t want to pay to construct an overpriced project to the benefit of a handful of really wealthy guys. They are asking for use of public land, financed by public means to benefit and profit roughly 12 people. $800,000,000 for a few temporary jobs with a few dozen part time jobs post completion doesn’t make sense. well at least not for the tax payer.

    4. NC Resident says:

      It has nothing to do with the money is, Nassau is a few dollars behind Westchester and my taxes are much higher than the Nassau County average. This is a problem with the deal and has nothing to do with keeping the Islanders. Our problem is with Wang and the cozy relationships; not the $58.

  5. BOB says:

    As said before VOT noOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  6. TS says:

    Sad to see every comment on here by people that have done 0 research on this referendum, but I shouldn’t expect anything more from the dopey nassau county residents.

    1. NC Resident says:

      I have done plenty of research and am a Nassau County resident. Both our County Comptroller and NIFA have found plenty of issues as well as the entire democratic legislature. I guess we’re all “dopey”. “TS” is the oracle of public policy.

  7. Jerry says:

    Another distraction by Mangano due to his inability to control spending.
    Vote no!!!!!!1 get the issue dropped then reduce teacher,police and adniisttration salary and perks spending attrocities

    1. CS from NY says:

      Yeah, teachers and police officers shouldn’t be able to afford to live in the area where they work! They should all commute 4 hours a day back and forth to an area where a person can survive on the salary you would prefer for them.

      administrators would be logical and parallel in that list, not administration or adniisttration as you spelled it.

      It’s quite an atrocity to post like a 5th grader on facebook…maybe you can blame your teachers.

  8. Al D says:

    What jobs will be created? Construction jobs will be temporary at best. Lets take the example of the Roosevelt Raceway. At the time, the owners of the raceway were given tax breaks to run and maintain the raceway. The only thing they did was race to the bank with their millions. What is there now? The Source Mall with no anchor store, Border books is out of business, Home Depot Expo gone and empty and Circuit City empty. These jobs were lost and not replaced. These are the jobs that are needed. Once the Nassau Veteran’s Coliseum is renovated and the new ballpark is built, the construction workers will be back on unemployment and chanting they need jobs.

    Before this project is started, I believe that Nassau County officials should sit down and think about their future because Nassau County is dying because of their good old buddy system.

    1. Steve H says:

      They say the new arena will take about 2-3 years, so I assume those are 2 year temporary jobs…plus that baseball field and casino etc ..whatever else they put there..so chalk up 5 yeares or so temporary construction work. Not bad if you think about it. In the past 15 years, I don’t think I worked at any one company more than 3 years.

    2. joshsucks says:

      Roosevelt Raceway was nothing but a land grab. Mr. Wang is a billionaire. He can build a new arena several times over. Let the big shot stick his rich hands into his rich pocket!

  9. BOB says:


  10. joshsucks says:

    What does Mangano give a rats ass about jobs for? He’s done and won’t be reelected no matter if jobs are created or not.

  11. Flynn says:

    Here’s a question…why is this special vote being done on MONDAY August 1st — the height of family vacation time — rather than around the typical voting period of November? Is Mr. Mangano afraid that if he has it during that time there will be more opposition?

    Another question…why is he in fact treating this LIKE an election? Who else has seen the “VOTE YES!” signs plastered up and down Hempstead Tpke? If I’m not mistaken, that’s an illegal tactic.

    Final question…WHY should the average long island family have to pay ANYTHING towards this? What will they get out of it? Will there be discounted concert and sports tickets? Free parking for a year? Or will there be increased prices for all the events, the parking, the food, etc besides the increases in taxes.

    Wonder why families are leaving Nassau? Look no further.

    1. joshsucks says:

      Good point – the answer to why Aug 1, is they are trying to sneak this in under the radar when most people are away.

      Do you know the cost of having a separate election instead of a referendum on Election Day? Guess who’s paying the freight on that one?

    2. Jerry says:

      Right on Flynn,

      No doubt there’s a kickback here, typical Nassau county behind the door tactics.
      The property owner is getting hosed by astronominical taxes for a failing school system, now you want a added tax for a sports complex when we have so many within reach in N.Y.C.


    3. Steve says:

      This is the height of vacation for everyone. I don’t see how this pertains to anything. Yes and No voters alike are all on holidays. NO ONE has an advantage. Stop making things up.

      Ok..put the Isles to the side for a sec. Say you vote no..what will happen. Ok, Building shuts down, 2000 or so jobs lost..then businesses around the area shut down..lets take on another 1000-2000 jobs lost…thus affecting surrounding areas because no one has money to spend. Now you have an empty building in disrepair…you no longer collect ANY tax revenue from the Islanders orfrom tickets like concerts OR businesses around that area, PLUS your taxes will go up to cover everything else.

      Say yes and WORST CASE scenario you will pay $58 per year..that is IF NO ONE EVERY GOES TO A GAME..EVER..you pay $58. Including incoming revenue, it gets reduced. In all likelyhood you will pay $10.

      Americans tend to think of themselves instead of others.. The “what’s in it for me mentality”. Stop thinking about yourself and think about your community because I would like you to look in the face of someone that lost their job from your vote and think to yourself.”I could have stopped that”.

    4. Thomas Heiser says:

      Question 1. Because they did not what this to be political and wanted a stand alone vote for a stand alone issue.

      Question 2. The vote yes signs were paid for by the islanders.

      Question 3. The money that the facility generates will pay for it. Currently many shows skip Long Island because of the dump, which is a county owned building, called the NVMC. Currently the NVMC does not draw big shows conventions and events. Many new facilities do.

      Intelligence is selective and it misses most. Why get angry over something that can make money as opposed to government programs and employees that just suck it in with no ROI?

    5. pop says:

      taxes,taxes and more taxes…..who cares where the islanders play,they stink

  12. vy says:

    Keep taxes down and let the Islanders move to the new Brooklyn arena being built by the NBA Nets. Any Ialsnder fans can get there on LIRR trains directly to the new modernized Atlantic Treminal Station at Flatbush & Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn.

    1. joshsucks says:

      The answer is that Mr. Wang can have a new arena or any arena he wants IF HE PAYS FOR IT!!!!

      The Yankees and Mets both paid for their new luxury stadiums. Let Mr. Wang empty his wallet and stop trying to pick the pockets of Nassau taxpayers. The County has no money and is in deep debt.

      1. Steve says:

        you’re a moron.

        WANG OFFERED TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING BEFORE! You guys turned it down. Amazing how ill informed you people are!?

  13. Nick says:

    Wang was about to pay for all this himself PLUS more developments in area to the tune of $1 billion. But some jerk off pol in Hempstead decided she didn’t get any payoff so she nixed it in favor of taxpayers paying for it.

    1. joshsucks says:

      Nobody should pay for this except MR. WANG!!!!

    2. Lawn-Guy Land says:

      Um, Nick…

      Wang never offered to pay for the Coliseum. He offered to pay for the Lighthouse project, which has nothing to do with a new Coliseum.

  14. ct fam says:

    Hey WCBS. I have an idea. How about running a story about the people who support the new development. The list is long – Chamber of Commerces, Dave and Busters, unions, Borelli’s Restaurant, the NY Islanders, the LI Ducks, families who want to take their kids to see hockey, basketball, concerts, the circus.

    1. joshsucks says:

      Thanks for trying to obfuscate the issue. Let all the above PAY FOR IT!!!

  15. ct fam says:

    It has already been established that Wang will pay for most, if not all of the new facility through revenue sharing. The County will see increased tax revenue from the new Coliseum and minor legaue baseball stadium and the increased business done at local restaurants and other businesses as a result.

    BTW, Wang offered to pay for a new arena as part of the Lighhouse Project, which Kate Murray rejected after years of delays. Blame her.

    The ABLI is an association of bitter developers who are bitter that they will not get an opportunity to develop the surrounding property. The had a bite at the apple during the Lighthouse Project and lost out to Charles Wang. Go away, ABLI, Would LI really be better offer without a new facility? We will lose out on concerts, entertainment and sporting events. Families and local businesses will suffer.

    1. jerry says:

      Lose out gimme a break…..go see all the entertainment you like in NYC

      no one in LI can afford anything now, businesses are leaving or closing down restaurants are starving and closing up due to NO MONEY OUT THERE?

      look around is Mangano blind and stupid, or is he getting something in return we’re unaware of. He has nothing to lose, he’s not getting reelected and he knows it as he’s just another waste of time.

      1. Keith says:

        Good idea, take the LIRR into NYC. The round trip will cost more than the $58 a year tax hike with all of the additional tax on the tickets, food, and other items going to NYC economy. I think you need to take a better look at the economics on this, although from your comments, I assume you have a hat in this ring and have an agenda for your own reasons and not for the betterment of Long Island.

      2. Keith says:

        The round trip for a family of 4 that is.

    2. Lawn-Guy Land says:

      “It has already been established that Wang will pay for most, if not all of the new facility through revenue sharing. The County will see increased tax revenue….”

      Except that Wang WON’T pay for anything – and DOESN’T INTEND TO – because he will either conveniently “forget” to pay or “convince” the County to let him deduct unrelated expenses, resulting in ZERO (or even NEGATIVE) annual payments.

      Just look at public financing for other sports franchises (e.g. Mets, Yankees) and you’ll see that the team owners [1] never deliver the promised revenues, [2] overstate expenses, and [3] invariably leave the public 100% on the hook.

  16. Sam says:

    its not just for the team…the coliseum needs repairs they have concerts there too!

  17. lina says:

    they are terrible anyway, let them go.

    1. BROWN says:

      OKAY, here is the deal, no REALLY!

      Replace the stadium; with the Billionaire footing 98% of the tab and then replace the entire Islanders Hockey Team!

      The local Long Island taxpayers will foot the remaining 2% of the bill, but please make sure you get a MUCH BETTER deal then what was worked out in the Bronx when they agreed with the New Yankee Stadium project(s).

      Long Islanders, I guess the last time you drove or walked through the bronx; you was trying to figure out why do all the people walk so funny.

      They walk so funny because they got a whole lot of political promises and a whole lot of garbage shoved up into them.

      In othere words, attend all hearings that are held and make sure that all the details are highlighted in which the public understands…..the bronx residents around the stadium really got taken advantage of because of shallow words and ridiculous deals……it’s not what was supposed to have been done.

      So Lond Islanders, do the right thing, except the New stadium to be billed, but only if the owner foots 98% of the bill, nothing less. But if he wants to foot the entire bill, watch out for the spool of twine, don’t get caught up in the strings attached.

      If things are done right, then local businesses and all the mom and pop stores will still be able to continue on with their business blossoming.

      Win Win situation, but most important, monitor the hearings, make sure you get things in writing!

      Again, replace the entire Islanders hockey team, all of them, YUCK!

      Good Luck.

      1. joshsucks says:

        An optimist you are but do you know how business is done in Nassau behind closed doors? Are you familiar with the Roosevelt Raceway debacle which turned out to be a land grab and nothing more. Big bucks for the 4 “captains of industry” who were in charge of that fiasco. Where’s the revenue from that now that Roosevelt is gone?

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