Despite Progress, Arena Not a Done Deal

From FOX40.com - February 13, 2012

“You have a divided city council,” said Doug Elmets, a political consultant who worked on the failed Q & R campaign to raise funds for an arena.

Elmets said the 5-4 vote that nixed the June vote was a “wake up call” for supporters who face a tough fight to get the parking proposal through. Elmets said much of the opposition on the council was political in the sense that some council members were out to stand up to a mayor they don’t see eye to eye with.


“Opposing council members were partly looking out for the interests of constituents and partly looking out for a way to be divisive with the Mayor,” said Elmets.


Elmets said it also tough for council members to vote on a proposal that is short on details.  The contract would hand over $9 million in revenue each year to the company awarded the contract in exchange for the chance to raise even more revenue through new taxes generated by a revitalized downtown with the new arena as its centerpiece.

“There are so many unknowns left,” said Elmets.

On the other hand Elmets said if there is no parking agreement, there will be no arena and without a new arena the Sacramento Kings will be lost.

Elmets says he believes the numbers will fall into place once details are hashed out.

 

The Sacramento City Council will take another step in privatizing the city’s parking operations Tuesday evening.

It will consider a shorted list of bidders that would take over city parking lots, curb meters and street enforcement.  The contract is intended to raise up to $200 million for the city to help finance a new sports and entertainment complex at the downtown rail yard site.

The proposal narrowly survived a measure that would put the decision in the hands of voters in June, months after an NBA imposed deadline to come up with a viable financing plan.
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Tomorrow’s vote won’t quite be as dramatic and a “No” decision on the bidder’s list won’t kill the deal, but it will provide a forum for those who oppose the plan.

“You have a divided city council,” said Doug Elmets, a political consultant who worked on the failed Q & R campaign to raise funds for an arena.

Elmets said the 5-4 vote that nixed the June vote was a “wake up call” for supporters who face a tough fight to get the parking proposal through. Elmets said much of the opposition on the council was political in the sense that some council members were out to stand up to a mayor they don’t see eye to eye with.

“Opposing council members were partly looking out for the interests of constituents and partly looking out for a way to be divisive with the Mayor,” said Elmets.

Elmets said it also tough for council members to vote on a proposal that is short on details.  The contract would hand over $9 million in revenue each year to the company awarded the contract in exchange for the chance to raise even more revenue through new taxes generated by a revitalized downtown with the new arena as its centerpiece.

Opponents say the new revenue is a big gamble and that parking money is currently used to fund city services, including police and fire budgets.

And there are details that are still being negotiated, like whether city parking employees will retain their jobs and whether there will be special events or Sunday parking fees, which were free.

The city is free to put in stipulations in the contract that deal with rate hikes, city employee retention and the continuation of weekend parking policy, but each demand by the city lessens the value of the  contract.

“There are so many unknowns left,” said Elmets.

On the other hand Elmets said if there is no parking agreement, there will be no arena and without a new arena the Sacramento Kings will be lost.

That’s not all that’s at stake.  With abolition of redevelopment agencies, there is no money to fund the makeover of the downtown rail yard site.

The parking plan is the private sector’s contribution to construction costs.  The city will have to kick in some revenue and so will the Kings’ owners, the Maloofs.  Elmets says he believes the numbers will fall into place once details are hashed out.

The more important vote comes on Feb. 28, when the council will decide whether or not to spend additional cash to flesh out a parking contract.  That would satisfy an NBA deadline for the city to commit to a financing plan that makes sense, and dollars and cents.

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