Nassau County Plans $400 Million Bond Sale for Hockey Arena

Long Island’s National Hockey League team, the New York Islanders, may get a new arena financed by a $400 million bond issue after the proposal is put to a vote on Aug. 1, said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

The sports complex will include a minor league baseball stadium and will replace the 39-year-old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Mangano said today at a press conference at the arena in Uniondale.

The project may face hurdles. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which has run the county’s fiscal affairs since January, said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” about Mangano’s proposal and the “fiscal implications for the county.”

The authority took control of the finances of the county, the state’s wealthiest by median household income, after it determined that Nassau’s budget had a deficit of more than 1 percent of projected spending.

“Once NIFA fully understand the potential of this plan, they will come to realize the tremendous economic benefits,” Brian Nevin, the county executive’s senior policy adviser, said in an e-mail. “Ultimately, Nassau residents will decide this plan’s fate, and NIFA should respect their decision.”

Revenue Sharing

Mangano said the “intention” is for the $400 million project not to “cost taxpayers a single penny” because the county will enter a revenue-sharing agreement with the team, the details of which haven’t been worked out.

“Part of our fiscal recovery is dependent on creating jobs and opportunities for this generation and future generations,” Mangano said when asked if the cash-strapped county could afford such a development.

The authority’s approval is required for all county borrowing. Nassau employs about 9,200 full-and part-time workers. Mangano proposed in March a $181.9 million plan that included spending cuts to close a $176 million deficit for 2011.

The Islanders had threatened to leave in three years if the arena wasn’t replaced, he said. The project is expected to begin in 2012 and be completed by 2015 when the team’s current lease expires.

Mangano also announced today that the county is negotiating with the Shinnecock Indian Nation to put a gaming casino at Belmont Park.

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