Pro and con on Nassau Coliseum redevelopment
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The Wang-Reckson plan fizzled owing to inside baseball in the Town of Hempstead. I won’t go into the details because that’s water under the bridge, but I want to remind county taxpayers that we came close to getting a new Coliseum financed entirely by private enterprise. That’s the solution we need to pursue today, because the county can’t afford to take on $400 million in new debt to pay for this project.
If voters approve this massive bond on Aug. 1, the county will have to pay about $26 million in debt service every year for the next 30 years. In return, the county will receive about $14 million in profits from the new Coliseum. That would leave taxpayers on the hook for $12 million to cover the rest of the debt service — every year for the next 30 years.
Unless my calculator is broken, Mangano must be stringing us along when he says his Coliseum plan wouldn’t cost taxpayers a thing. It’s hard enough to raise a family on Long Island. Our finances are already stretched to the limit by the cost of owning a home, sending our children to school and paying the taxes that accompany all of these things. We can’t afford to increase our property-tax bills by paying for a project that Mr. Wang could easily finance himself.
Nassau County is proud to be the home of the Islanders. We’d love to have a new arena, but we simply don’t have the money — not in the county’s coffers, not in our overstretched budget and certainly not in taxpayers’ pockets.