Low Turnout In Nassau County For New Coliseum

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It’s been a slow go so far as Nassau County voters head to the ballot box today to decide whether to borrow $400 million to build a new Nassau Coliseum to keep the New York Islanders and build a minor-league ballpark, according to the Associated Press.

The vote will be interesting test in a county that has among the highest property taxes in the nation. It and Westchester are typically the top two in highest property taxes, according to reports from the Tax Foundation.

The measure, if approved, may also prove an interesting test for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s property-tax cap. If approved, the bond may exceed Cuomo’s 2 percent tax cap adopted in June and set to take effect in January.

From AP’s report this morning:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — An election official reported low voter turnout early Monday in a suburban New York county where residents were deciding whether to back a $400 million bond issue to construct a new hockey arena and minor league ballpark.

“Abysmally low,” is how Nassau County Board of Elections Commissioner William Biamonte described turnout for the unusual mid-summer election. He said approximately 20,000 voters had cast ballots in the first several hours after polls opened at 6 a.m.; voters have until 9 p.m. to cast their ballots.

The commissioner, a Democrat, said there were some minor problems with some workers arriving late to polling places, but no major issues.

Nassau County residents, who pay some of the highest property taxes in the country, are deciding whether to support a $400 million bond issue to replace the 39-year-old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The project also includes a minor league baseball park and a possible track and field facility.

The county executive and others consider the vote a last-ditch effort to keep the NHL’s New York Islanders from relocating when the team’s lease expires in 2015. Islanders’ owner Charles Wang said he will have to consider his options, including selling or moving to a new city if voters reject Monday’s referendum.

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