AUGUST 1 ARENA REFERENDUM APPROVEDLeg. votes 11-7 in favor of summer public ballot

2:20 pm: As expected, the Nassau County Legislature authorized the Aug. 1 referendum for a new Coliseum. The vote was 11-7. All Republicans voted yes, all Democrats except David Denenberg voted no. The divide along party lines was ugly. The Democrats voting against made two major points: they have no idea what they are voting for and they believe the Aug. 1 date is comical and expensive. This divide mattered little today, but will a lot more when final approval will need more than a majority.

Wayne Wink’s ammendment to hold the vote on Election Day lost along party lines, 10-8, for obvious reasons (and favorable ones to the Islanders and those who want this new arena deal). Again: the idea to open balloting stations and hold the vote on a Monday in the summer – away from the general election in November – is sheer genius, and why it should be an easy win. To be frank, if the referendum is shot down (or is even close), it would be a sad reflection on how this community feels about the Islanders.

The voting, open to all Nassau residents registered to vote, will be on Aug. 1. If you care about this project one way or the other and are a resident of Nassau, make sure you are registered to vote. Specific details on the voting procedure will be made available at a later date.

Details on the deal between Nassau and Charles Wang for the new arena and surrounding property are expected to be released in 2-3 weeks. Expect comment from the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) after the complete details of the agreement are revealed. In the end, before and after the referendum, this could come down to NIFA’s approval.