August 25, 2010 by WILLIAM MURPHY /
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has proposed using long-term borrowing -
and ultimately taxpayer dollars - to redevelop the area surrounding Nassau
Coliseum, including the possible renovation of the Coliseum itself, according
to county documents and officials briefed on the plan.
Mangano and his aides declined to discuss the plan, for which he has submitted
legislation that would have to be approved by voters. But the presiding officer
of the county legislature said it was his understanding that the bill was
filed with the clerk of the Legislature on Aug. 17 in order to meet the legal
deadline for getting a referendum on the ballot in November.
The filing "preserved a one-month window to try and resolve whatever it is they
want resolved. My sense is that everything is in a flux," Legis. Peter
Schmitt, a Republican ally of Mangano, said in an interview Wednesday.
"It's a placeholder. If a determination is made to go forward . . . it had to
be filed," Schmitt said. "My sense is that nothing is going to get done in the
next four or five weeks, so it's going nowhere."
The leader of the Democratic minority on the legislature, Diane Yatauro of Glen
Cove, said she hoped Mangano was not asking taxpayers for "a blank check" for
what was once envisioned as a privately financed development anchored by the
During all the years of talks about redeveloping the hub, county officials
expected to help with some financial incentives, but never envisioned providing
"Now, all of a sudden, county taxpayers may be asked to chip in at a time when
the economy remains tough and many are without jobs," she said.
A spokesman for Charles Wang, Lighthouse developer and owner of the Islanders,
said he was interested in learning about the referendum. "We continue to talk to
the county," spokesman Michael Picker said.
Any projects would be financed by issuing bonds that would be paid off,
typically over 20 or more years, with property tax revenue, according to
details of the plans. Property owners would see a special line on their tax
bill identifying how much money was going to finance the projects.
There was no cost estimate in a sketchy administration analysis submitted to
the legislature. It likened the plan to the two environmental bonds totaling
$150 million that were approved during the administration of former County
Executive Thomas Suozzi. The county has budgeted $9 million this year to pay
the debt service on the money that has been borrowed to date under those bond
acts, according to the Office of Legislative Budget Review.
Officials of the Town of Hempstead, which controls all-important zoning for the
area, said they had been informed of the plan in general, but would not comment
because they had not been provided enough information. "We're always interested
in proposals that advance reasonable development in the area," town spokesman
Michael Deery said.
Deery said county officials had not indicated the plan was tentative or a
placeholder, and said one of the possibilities discussed was the renovation of
With Randi F. Marshall
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