Voters urged to speak out on Coliseum vote

The Nassau Coliseum. (July 6, 2011) The Nassau Coliseum. (July 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

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With the clock ticking on an Aug. 1 ballot referendum to build a new home for the New York Islanders, county lawmakers are urging voters to make their voice heard.

Wednesday, Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) distributed absentee ballots to shoppers at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City. Denenberg said people were generally split on the proposal, but most were unaware of the tax increases associated with the vote.

The only Democrat to vote in favor of allowing the referendum to proceed, Denenberg is a key player on this issue. Assuming the referendum passes, the Legislature would vote a second time on the terms of the lease agreement with the Islanders. At least two Democrats would be required to ensure passage and Denenberg said he is still undecided. "I still have a lot of questions that need to be answered," he said.

Some shoppers, however, said they were voting yes. "I like the idea," said Sarah Burris of Hempstead. "We need to start building things here in Long Island."

Residents can apply for an absentee ballot from the Nassau County Board of Elections. Completed ballots must be mailed by July 25. Ballots can also be delivered in person to the BOE through July 31. The office will be open the weekend before the vote.

Thus far, 8,738 absentee ballots have been printed and will be mailed to disabled residents or those expected to be out of town during the vote, including members of the military.

The county clerk and county attorney, meanwhile, signed off Wednesday on final language in the referendum.

Voters will be asked whether to establish a line on the property tax bills of Nassau homeowners dedicated to the payment of the debt service. A special revenue fund would be created toward the payment of the debt service on the bonds. The referendum does not discuss any revenue the county will receive from the project.

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