Let county voters decide on the Coliseum's future
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The new Coliseum proposal is more economically and environmentally sound than the Lighthouse. Although voters would have to approve the bond, it would require private-sector support for financing. For example, the Islanders and the baseball team would pay the county a percentage of every dollar generated at the new stadiums. The Mangano administration believes that this revenue-sharing agreement, along with the sales tax generated at the two sites, would provide enough revenue to pay back the bond and eventually bring in a profit.
If the bond is paid off as a result of revenues that are generated by the new facilities, with no additional costs to taxpayers, then this is a project that merits consideration. It could be a win-win for Nassau County residents — a revenue producer to lessen our tax burden and an economic engine for the creation of jobs.
The elephant in the room is the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which currently controls the county and oversees any financial transactions larger than $50,000. Board member George Marlin stated, “With the county in a state of fiscal despair and the fact that they are laying off county employees, to saddle taxpayers with another $400 million in debt and to spend scarce dollars on a special election in my judgment is absurd.”
Absurd? NIFA has every right to be concerned, but let’s look at the facts before the partisan debate — which is usually fueled by Marlin — begins.
Mangano has formed a bipartisan advisory committee, chaired by former NASDAQ Chairman Frank Zarb. The committee consists of business, community and labor leaders, all with distinguished reputations.
This committee should be applauded. It brings experts from both sides of the political aisle together, along with some of Long Island’s top business and community officials, in an effort to end the stalemate.
Let voters have an honest look at the plan without partisan bickering. If the revenue generated by the new Coliseum, ballpark and other yet-to-be-announced developments will pay off the bond and create a great sports venue to renew our recreation and tourism industry and bring back our tax base, then this could be a truly good concept.