PeachPundit had originally scheduled a point/counterpoint on the stadium debate today. We’re now re-scheduling that for Monday. For those of you needing a stadium debate fix, perhaps we can just use the following to help us first nail down how much this will really be costing taxpayers.
The AJC has an article online today discussing how attorneys specializing in leases with sports franchises have been retained to negotiate the lease for a proposed replacement for the Georgia Dome. It’s an interesting and worthwhile read.
This line, however, needs clarification and extension:
About $300 million of the funding would be raised through hotel-motel tax collections in Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County. The Falcons would be responsible for the rest.
“The rest” ignores additional expenses the taxpayers will be picking up. Expenses that the AJC is well aware of, and has previously reported. For instance:
The Barrett analysis submitted last month cited $331.5 million in public funding — $277.3 million from hotel-motel tax net bond proceeds, $24.2 million from the state for land and $30 million from a construction sales tax rebate. The analysis assumed a $700.5 million contribution from the Falcons and the NFL.
And then, on top of those gifts, the City of Atlanta is poised to step in with an unspecified amount for infrastructure improvements and upgrades around the area. How much? It’s unclear, but the city says they have $53 Million in cash available in tax improvement district funds and is preparing to borrow $250 Million more. This, as well, is AJC reporting:
Needed improvements around the site of a new Atlanta Falcons stadium could push the total project cost to $1.2 billion, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Monday.
Reed did not say the cost of the stadium itself would rise above an architect’s estimate of $948 million — money to be raised by the state and the Falcons. But Reed said a variety of upgrades to sidewalks, roads and other amenities could boost the project price to the larger total.
So how much are taxpayers, from various sources really going to end up paying to replace our existing, fully functional stadium? At this point it remains unclear, but it appears to be well north of $300 Million.
Somewhere between $275 Million and $300 Million from hotel motel taxes. $25 Million or more direct from the state for land. Waiver of sales taxes estimated at $30 Million. And up to another $250 Million from the City of Atlanta for unspecified infrastructure improvements that closes the gap between the $950 Million stated budget for the stadium and the $1.2 Billion expected final price.
I’ll note that myself, Stefan, and Mike will be visiting with the GWCC the week after next. If we’re finally going to have a public debate about this stadium then I’m more than prepared to seek out the facts from all parties. Part of these facts need to be total costs. And by all accounts, taxpayers will be on the hook for significantly more than $300 Million for this project. This number needs to be clear, and needs to be consistantly reported as such.