Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano signed off on a county legislature bill authorizing the mid-summer vote. Approval would clear the way for the New York Islanders to remain on Long Island until 2045.
The NHL team's current lease expires after the 2015 season.
Some county legislators and others have questioned the wisdom of putting $400 million up for bonds at a time when the county is facing a deficit of $176 million. Mangano counters that replacing the nearly 40-year-old arena will help reinvigorate the local economy.
Union leaders and others have expressed support for the project, saying it would provide jobs in the hard-hit construction industry.