Nassau voters reject Mangano’s push for $400 million for Coliseum

MINEOLA – Nassau voters, already paying some of the highest property taxes in the country, rejected a referendum Monday to borrow $400 million for the construction of a new hockey arena and ballpark at the Nassau Coliseum.

The referendum failed in a 33,526 to 24,553 vote Monday in what elections officials said was a very low turnout for the unusual midsummer election.

Nassau County officials who backed the effort say the August vote was needed to give officials enough time to build a replacement for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before the New York Islanders’ lease expires in 2015.

The hockey team’s owner, Charges Wang, has said the team will not remain in the current structure once that agreement expires.

The county legislature must still sign off on the borrowing, as does the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which earlier this year declared a fiscal emergency in Nassau, citing a budget deficit over $100 million.

The Islanders tweeted that a heartbroken Wang would focus on the team and their remaining games there. “Wang says it’s emotional and that he is heartbroken over results. Says he is focused on the #Isles.”

County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Bethpage) released a statement: “The people of Nassau County have spoken and I can take joy in knowing that we celebrated democracy today.

“Over the course of the past several weeks, we all learned a lot about our County and what is needed to improve our local economy.

“I can tell you this, tonight is not the end of our journey, but merely the beginning. In the coming weeks I will explore a path for new opportunities and growth in Nassau County.”

Tune to WRHU Radio Hofstra University for all the latest developments on this story.