Friday, June 03, 2011
Paying for a new Arena?
I think we all know why the Kings are still in town… passionate fans and a last ditch effort by politicians and local businesses to show that Sacramento can still pull together big deals. Building a new arena is now priority #1, a big spending project that should be done for the greater good of Sacramento.
In the last issue of Sactown Magazine (April/May) there is one section called: “Riverfront: Veto the Vote” that talks about whether the Kings decide to stay or go, and that it's time to start treating the arena issue like every other major project the city has undertake for the good of the people. And that means not asking the people what's good for them.
This method that Sactown Mag., refers to is done by raising bonds with the backing of public money. The Sacramento bond project list is longer than you might think. Just to list a few, there’s the billion dollar airport expansion, $751 million “Capitol Improvement Program” in 1987, both the Hyatt and Sheraton, and the convention center expansion in 1992. None of these projects went to a vote of the people; the city did not wait around and hoping for some wealthy family or company to build for us allowing others to decide our fate for us. All these were done by raising bonds and backing it with public money. The bonds were paid off with funded user fees (where ticket buyer pay a few extra dollars each visit), hotel, car rental, parking, and concessions.
This has been a standard method for several other cities to build big project when private money was not enough to make it happen. Since an arena serves a public purpose, therefore it does not need voter approval.
If our city leaders are serious about keeping the Kings in town, they better look to the past to help finance a new arena in the near future. Take a moment to check out the article here, it illustrates the point much better than I have.