Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Omaha Baseball Stadium: Maybe I'm not Neutral after All

Hello! A new baseball stadium would raise Douglas County property taxes?

As a county commissioner, I've been content to sit back and enjoy the spectacle, secure in the knowledge that the ballpark debate is a city matter.

Now the city is talking about ending its keno partnership with the county after 2011. That's $2 million annually in non-property-tax revenue for the county. It's only about 1% of the annual county budget, but we are tight with county dollars. There is no fluff.

Commissioner Clare Duda suggested the possibility of a property tax hike to make up the $2 million. There is time to work with the budget without automatically pushing the property tax button, but I'll be tuned in more carefully to the funding proposal for a new ballpark.


OmaSteak said...

You mean the county board didn't even get a kiss before Mayor Landow put it to you for $2 million/year??? Jeez, go figure.

The only way the public is going to have a voice in the new downtown ballpark process is joining in with the folks at www.recall-fahey.com and get those recall petitions out on the street in the next 30 days. If/when those petitions start being circulated, NCAA will know despite whatever assurances they've been given that "public support" is not forthcoming.

OmaSteak said...

Glaring omission on the omahastadium.com website which purports to have "all the information available" on the new downtown ballpark, the financial projections for the revenues, both tax and stadium, are nowhere to be found. I was looking for them after hearing an interview with the two top managers of the Omaha Royals, including Alan Stein (sp?) president of the team. He was extremely negative about the Royals using the new ballpark. A negotiating tactic for a better "sweetheart" deal than their current Rosenblatt lease? Maybe, but he did pass along one new piece of information. The Royals have an option to extend their current Rosenblatt lease for 5 years after the 2010 season. Plus they have been approached by Sarpy county people with the idea of building their own ballpark, designed to meet their own very different requirements, near the Cabella's area. This has to make one concerned about repayment of the new downtown ballpark debt as presented by the committee and Mayor. Another thing to keep in mind as you look at projected repayment, not one dollar of the Qwest center debt has been repaid yet. That has been avoided so far by refinancing the bonds and only paying interest on the $300 million principal.