By Eden Laikin
While economists at Camoin Associates project that taxpayers will earn dividends from the construction of a new sports-entertainment center proposed by County Executive Ed Mangano, a new report issued by the County’s Independent Office of Legislative Budget Review (IOLBR) this week suggests even if all fails, the average household will only face a cost of 26 cents a week – $13.80 a year. Although highly unlikely, this report provides ease to homeowners who might have feared a risk associates with the project.
While the debt payments on a $400 million bond averages about $58 per household, the IOLBR acknowledges that the Islanders guaranteed $14 million minimum lease payment to the County – coupled with an estimated $4 million in tax revenue – decreases the risk from $58 per household to $13.80, annually.
Meanwhile, Camoin Associates – a nationally recognized firm in public and private sector economic development – estimates that Nassau County will make $400 million in profit on the 30-year lease and create 3,000 permanent jobs.
Camoin further reports that if the Coliseum closes, it could cost taxpayers over $243 million per year – triggering a far greater tax increase.
A public referendum in two weeks will give voters the choice of whether to make this investment in the County’s future.
“To keep the economic development plan in perspective, on August 1st residents will have the opportunity to decide whether to risk what equates to the cost of one pizza pie a year or a cup of coffee each month to create 3,000 jobs and bring a state-of the-art arena and ballpark to Nassau County,” Mangano said. “This plan presents an opportunity to invest in our community, create jobs, hold the line on property taxes and build a world class sports entertainment destination to jump start our economy. The risks associated with this plan have been minimized and the rewards of job creation, new revenue and an increased quality of life are significant.”
These economic benefits and several others were touted by economists and representatives of the local business community at a press conference earlier today.
Mangano’s Job Creation and Economic Development Plan includes $350 million for a new Coliseum, $26 million for a minor-league ballpark and $24 million for infrastructure improvements on the 77-acre site.
According to Camoin, Nassau County’s economy could lose $243.4 million annually if the New York Islanders leave the region after the club’s lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015.
If the Coliseum were to shutter, it also would take with it 2,660 jobs and nearly $104 million in annual earnings, said a Camoin report released last week.
Nassau also would lose about $8 million a year in tax revenue that would be generated by the arena in 2015 and beyond.
The Camoin study based its findings on the more than 1 million people who attended Islanders games, concerts, car shows and other events during the 2010-11 hockey season.
“Right now, every dollar in Nassau County that we lose is critical,” said Deputy County Executive Rob Walker.
The independent Office of Legislative Budget Review, in an analysis of the lease agreement released this week, confirmed that in addition to the $14 million in guaranteed lease payments from the Islanders annually, Nassau would also receive $4.9 million from taxes.
That $19 million offsets the annual debt payments by more than 70-percent, records show.