Polling places in Nassau County, Long Island closed at 9PM despite the pleas from some voters to stay open longer. The county's Board of Elections cited paying overtime for workers and security in a bond referendum election that has cost the county $2.2 million dollars. Results can be found at www.nassauvotes.com starting at 10pm.
County residents took to the polls on Monday and had to deal with hail and rainstorms that closed roads and stalled the Long Island Railroad for several hours this evening. However even before the bad weather, the county said the turnout was extremely low and estimated only 10% of the county's 900,000 registered voters came out. Under the proposal, the county estimates borrowing $400 million dollars to fund the project which is expected to create more than 2500 jobs and receive an estimated 11 1/2 percent of every dollar of future revenue at the new coliseum.
The two men strongly pushing for the project, Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and NY Islanders hockey team owner Charles Wang, waited for results with supporters at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Monday night.
Voters at three of the 382 polling spots, Mineola, Garden City and Rockville Centre, had mixed reviews of the plan to bring a new coliseum to replace the 39-year old existing structure, and also create a minor league baseball park, among other projects at the 77-acre site off Hempstead Turnpike. Among the comments PIX11 received:
"I hope it passes.""It doesn't sound like a good deal""It keeps the team on Long Island"
Opponents insist the project raises property taxes, creates more debt for a county already in financial strain and is still not entirely complete. William Biamonte, the Democratic Commissioner of the Board of Elections , says the summer Monday voting date led to the low voter turnout.
"If we would moved it to the general election, we would have had a higher turnout, we would have had all the details of the deal and we would have saved 2.2 million dollars," Biamonte said.
"If this was held on election day it wouldn't have had a chance of being approved and I think the biggest proponents of the deal know that," Chris Votto, from islanderpointblank.com, said.
Chris Votta who writes for the blog www.islanderspointblank.com also doesn't believe this is the end of the road for the team on the island if the vote is "no". Wang has said the Islanders would leave when the lease is up in 2015. The proposal would keep the team here for another three decades.
" I still think he will negotiate with Nassau county to see if he can try to make something work out here. He has been consistent since he bought the team 11 years ago. He doesnt want to go anywhere else, " Votta said.
Votta adds that even with a "yes" vote has to be approved by the Nassau County Legislature by a super majority and Nassau Interim Finance Authority or NIFA.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun