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County Officials Take Informational Tour to Long Beach

Residents have questions about "Hub" project.

Nassau County representatives were at the Long Beach Library on Tuesday to speak with city residents and address their questions about New York Islanders’ owner Charles Wang and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano plans to replace the Nassau Coliseum, construct a new minor league baseball stadium and renovate the surrounding areas.

Although Long Beach, about 15 miles distance from the Coliseum in Uniondale, will not see any of the construction, the county still wanted to give its residents a chance to learn more about the project before county taxpayers vote on Aug. 1 to determine whether the estimated $400 million renovation project, called “The Hub,” will materialize.

“There’s a lot of editorializing about what’s going on and we just want to make sure people know what’s going on,” said Peter DiSilvio, the county’s director of Special Projects.

In May, when Wang and Mangano announced their plans, the redevelopment project was touted as an effort to create new tax revenue for the county and keep the Islanders in town through 2045.

The Islanders’ lease with the Coliseum expires in 2015, and without a new arena, the team will have to seriously evaluate its future in Nassau. The Aug. 1 vote will tell whether or not taxpayers are ready to invest in the new sports complex, which the county projects will generate $1.2 billion in revenue and more than 3,000 new permanent jobs over the 30 years the Islanders will stay in Uniondale.

One concern many have expressed is the potential increased tax burden that county residents must carry if the referendum passes Aug. 1.Earlier this month, East Meadow Patch reported that the expected annual cost per average household would be $48 to $58.

But country representatives, who are conducting a series of informational meetings across several communities, said in Long Beach Tuesday that new estimates say the renovation of the Coliseum would cost at most $23 per average household annually, since a new revenue sharing agreement made Monday with the Islanders guaranteed the team would cover a minimum of $14 million or 11.5 percent of the total gross per year, whichever figure is higher.

County representatives said that the additional cost of the new baseball stadium and other construction would only cost the average household “a few additional dollars” per year. They added that these numbers were only relevant in the “worst case scenario,” and were projected in the instance the Coliseum and ballpark failed to sell one ticket or piece of merchandise at any of its future events. 

“Camoin Associates did an independent financial report, and they say that starting in the first year of operation, 2015, enough revenues will be collected to pay for borrowing and make 2.2 million profit,” said Eden Laikin, director of Governmental Research.

Laikin noted that the projected $20-plus annual average tax burden will be unnecessary after the first year of operations.

Long Beach resident Dimbaza Dumile, like some who attended Tuesday’s meeting, was excited about the new project.

“I’m in favor of it,” Dumile said. “I think it’ll benefit the Nassau County area and it’ll keep the area valid.”

Fran Rosenberg from Atlantic Beach said she still has concerns about the impact it will have on traffic and overcrowding.

“I still have issues about transportation and the bus system,” she said. “If the bus system will accommodate this new building and whatever else is built, will bus service be taken away from other communities to go toward this?”

* Nicole Murphy contributed to this story.

Dimbaza Dumile July 12, 2011 at 08:43 PM
We would like for our residents to Vote 'YES' on August 1, 2011 - Thank you.
AHR July 12, 2011 at 09:06 PM
If anyone buys these "revised" estimates that show the County making a profit I have a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you. We went from the county saying the bond would not require an increase in taxes, then admitting it would increase taxes, and now we have the combination -- taxes will go up but we will have a profit. Vote No on August 1. We can't afford this luxury. If it is profitable then the private sector should pay for it from start to finish.Read why the Daily News and LI Business oppose this boondoggle
Jeffrey Votteler July 12, 2011 at 09:25 PM
AHR, another naysayer that doesn't propose an alternative solution. The Coliseum isn't just for the Islanders its for the community. The Islanders play there 41+ nights a year, the Coliseum is active 160 days a year. Circuses, concerts, wrestling, etc. All of that will go away if this plan does not pass. And you think your taxes won't go up when the current revenue stream from the Coliseum goes away in 2015? Taxes will go up during construction. Once the arena is opened, then the revenue stream will start and should cost the cover of the bond. The Islanders are responsible for any cost overruns not the county, so it is a fixed cost.
paul.d.spellman July 13, 2011 at 02:58 AM
And remember as taxpaying Long Islanders after the new venue is open we can have the privilege of paying outrageous prices to see a hockey game. I can see the cost now, unless you want to sit in the 3 rows closest to the ceiling Tickets $110 each (currently $56, anyone think $110 is a stretch?) Parking $30 2 beers $20 Hot Dog $7 So a night at the new coliseum for over $150, who will have anything leftover to even pay their taxes?
Kevin Reilly July 13, 2011 at 05:49 PM
"the county projects will generate $1.2 billion in revenue and more than 3,000 new permanent jobs over the 30 years the Islanders will stay in Uniondale" Really??? Is that revenue for Wang or Mangano? I doubt the Nassau County will even be paid back on the tax payer investment and once that new facility is completed right back to business as usual as we get to watch Wang let the new Coliseum fall apart around the Islanders. I would love to see the Islanders stay in Nassau, lets’ rent Wang the LAND only, let him get some skin in the game and build his own building, Nassau gets the rent from the land, we have no tax liability to build a building, Nassau still collects sales tax. Let Mr. Wang call up the investors he had when he was going to build apartment towers on that land. I bet he might even maintain a building that he owns.
John C. July 13, 2011 at 06:07 PM
. $400 million is an unfair burden to ask an overtaxed population to shoulder. Even across 30 years, the County’s share of the Coliseum revenue would have to exceed $13.4 million each year just to pay back the loan (at 0% APR), and I fail to see how any projected financials could convince anyone that the County would be paid in that amount after all the operational expenses were paid, no matter how many events were held at the proposed building. Perhaps the most offensive and insulting aspect of this entire proposal is, just one year ago, there was the Lighthouse Project proposal which was bolstered by the inclusion of $3.8 billion in Charles Wang’s private funding for development of the Coliseum and surrounding property. As it is now, Nassau is barely capable of paying its debts and funding payroll, let alone having the resources to fund future pensions, countless questionable disability retirements or putting money aside for a rainy day. Besides, how could borrowing $400 million for this project possibly make any fiscal sense when New York State (NIFA) is threatening to take over the county’s financial operations? Isn’t it enough that Nassau’s bond rating hovers right around “Junk”? Or is it lower than that? It would be unfortunate to see the Islanders go but I would rather that than to pay one more dime in Nassau County tax to see a billionaire get a free arena!
Tony S July 15, 2011 at 03:45 AM
Your article is NOT accurate, it's no fault of yours but Eden Laikin and whomever you spoke with gave you misleading information. Tuesday evening at East Meadow HS County Executive Mangano and Christopher Melvin from Nixon-Peabody who negotiated the new lease both attended a public meeting and those of us in attendance were told if this referendum gets passed the average Nassau home owner will see a line on their tax bill for an additional $58 dollars a year for the next 30 years. That is based on a home appraised at $450,000. That will be on your tax bill every year for 30 years. It will never go down nor will it be removed from your bill. It is required by law to remain on your property tax bill. The amount is based on a fixed rate bond so the County residents will be obligated to repay $25.9 million yearly. Anything else you were told is baloney and has no basis in reality. This nonsense about a gradual reduction or the bond financing line being taken off your annual county tax bill is a bold faced lie. If some one tells you otherwise don't believe them.
Tony S July 15, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Today Thursday July 14 NIFA met and reviewed Nassau's budget. this from AP: Board member George Marlin said county leaders have "exhibited delusions of fiscal balance." He added sales tax increases, labor concessions and other payments had failed to materialize. "Today there is a crisis of confidence on the county's fiscal management," Marlin said. "If corrective actions are not pursued now to cure the county's fiscal ailments, Nassau will be plunged into fiscal chaos." The panel took no official position on a scheduled Aug. 1 referendum in which county voters will be asked to approve a $400 million bond issue to replace the aging Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which is home to the NHL's New York Islanders. NIFA Chairman Ronald Stack noted, however, that approval of the referendum would likely result in a 3.5 to 4 percent average property tax increase. *NIFA is a bipartisan State authority.

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