UNIONDALE - Just days before the big vote on the $400 million plan to redevelop the aging Nassau Coliseum, the county is making a final push to get taxpayers' approval of the project.
Residents, unions, lawmakers, and business owners have all chosen sides over a plan that could change the face of Nassau County. Tonight, each side had a chance to sound off on the project during News 12 Long Island's live special, "The Big Vote."
County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau) says the plan to build a new home for the Islanders, a minor league ballpark and a track and field facility will create thousands of jobs and bring in revenue to the county.
The Office of Legislative Budget Review says building the new Coliseum complex would cost the average Nassau homeowner in a property worth about $400,000 about $58 a year for 30 years.
However, Mangano says that money would eventually come back to taxpayers because the county will keep 11.5 percent of Coliseum revenue, from ticket prices to parking fees.
With all of that money coming in, county budget officials say the true cost of the project would be just under $14 a year per household.
"I assure you that the people of Nassau County will profit," Mangano says.
However, Democrats fear that the cash from the Coliseum will be dumped into the general fund with no guarantee that it will be used to keep taxes down, while other critics say the revenue projections are too rosy in the current economy.
Islanders owner Charles Wang points out that he will be paying millions in rent and that the team would be guaranteed to stay on Long Island for at least the next 30 years. He insists it is a private-public partnership that's a win-win for everyone.
Even if taxpayers vote to approve the plan next Monday, two-thirds of the county Legislature still has to pass it. In addition, the state watchdog agency NIFA must sign off on the project.
Nassau Coliseum: The Big Vote Part 1Nassau Coliseum: The Big Vote Part 2
Rally held outside Nassau Coliseum ahead of vote next weekOfficials make final push as Coliseum vote approachesVoters to head to polls to decide Coliseum fate in 1 weekNassau comptroller voices concerns over Coliseum plan Report: Coliseum closure would have chilling effect on economyNIFA raises red flag over Coliseum projectNIFA declares Nassau in state of fiscal emergency
Polling LocationsVoter InformationNassau Coliseum: The Big Vote - Video Timeline