UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Voters in a suburban New York community already paying some of the highest property taxes in the country rejected a referendum Monday to borrow US$400 million for the construction of a new hockey arena and ballpark.

The referendum failed in a 33,526 to 24,553 vote Monday in what elections officials said was a very low turnout for the unusual midsummer election.

Nassau County officials who backed the effort say the August vote was needed to give officials enough time to build a replacement for the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before the New York Islanders' lease expires in 2015.

Without a new building, the hockey team's owner, Charges Wang, has said he may have to move off Long Island.

The county legislature must still sign off on the borrowing, as does the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which earlier this year declared a fiscal emergency in Nassau, citing a budget deficit over $100 million.