With the public vote to decide whether Nassau residents are willing to float a $400 million bond just four days away, the rhetoric is heating up on both sides of the massive development project.
“I am outraged that Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and the Republican-controlled legislature scheduled a referendum vote when a large number of residents will be on vacation, particularly when the general election is just about three months away,” said Gary Port, Democratic candidate for Hempstead town supervisor. “While the scheduling of this vote is of great concern to me, it is imperative that every voter exercises their right on Aug. 1.”
At a Thursday press conference, the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) demanded that the Nassau County Finance Authority (NIFA) block the Coliseum project from affecting Nassau County taxpayers, regardless of the outcome of the vote.
“There is a million-dollar campaign underway to convince homeowners that more debt and taxes is a good thing in Nassau County," ABLI Executive Board member Mark Hamer said. "That is insanity and NIFA knows it. The authority must play its role of cop and publicly call this dead on arrival or risk abdicating its responsibility to be the last responsible adult in Mineola.”
However Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said ABLI is distorting the facts.
"Despite ABLI demands for development rights at the HUB, Nassau County will not give into the pressure of a multi-millionaire developer organization," Mangao said. "The lease agreement is clear. The people of Nassau County retain development rights at the site of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Should the public referendum pass on Monday and a sports-entertainment destination center be created, the land surrounding the new arena will become more valuable and residents will profit from that increase in value when the county seeks complimentary development."
Still, Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs says a yes vote will increase taxes.
"Anyone who votes for this deal is voting to increase their own taxes every year for the next 30 years," Jacobs said. "Publicly financed arenas do not pay for themselves, and taxpayers will get stuck with the bill for this foolish project."