Letter: Show Me The Money

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A meeting was held with the NY Cosmos and the community at the Sewanhaka High School to answer question about their proposal to build a stadium in the south lot at Belmont Park, and a hotel, restaurants, and shopping in the north lot. The school board members and soccer fans are giddy over this idea, but there are still a number of unanswered questions.

Many questions that were answered in detail were about how great this would be for the communities and more fields for the kids. But we just passed an $86.6 million bond for the high school district that included field improvements plus we have parks.

No one asked how much the Cosmos paid the state for the land? That parcel of land with a platform train station is very valuable.

Why were there only four Request For Proposals [RFPs] to build at Belmont Race Track? There should have been many proposals from developers to build at Belmont.

The biggest question that went unanswered was: Where’s the money for the schools, police, fire, sanitation, water and more? Those bills continue to grow for tax payers. Who is negotiating for the tax payers? Once the deal is brokered you can’t go back and say give me more. People need to iron out the details for money now and into the future. Now there was some talk about a million or two in the form of PILOT [payment in lieu of taxes] but that money wasn’t a firm commitment. Who gets that money if it will be there at all?

They never really answered the question about the IDA [Industrial Development Agency] which they will receive grants and tax breaks to build. Look we all know we need to build, but we also have real needs: money, high-paying jobs, housing and more. Long Island also has a bad history with sports teams, losing the Islanders, Nets and Jets. This could be nice, but show me the money for the tax payers who are giving away a large valuable parcel of state land. I am open to any idea to build just as long as we, the tax payers, benefit from the plan. Let’s get serious; we don’t need more games played against the tax payers.

 —Patrick Nicolosi

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