Of course, according to this report from WSPD News, the final cost of the arena won't be known until the final design is complete and the last bids are awarded later this year.
Now, let's take a look at this...
The hotel/motel tax is generating about $1 million per year. They plan to issue 30-year bonds and use this revenue to cover the costs of the bonds. However, $1 million/year only adds up to $30 million - not the $43-50 million that the tax was projected to generate to meet the budgeted cost of the arena. And we've not even begun to talk about the interest on the bonds. Even if the hotel/motel tax collects the projected $1.2 million per year, that's only $36 million - still far short of what is needed.
So where is the difference going to be made up????
WSPD has some other sound clips from this story today and I'll link to them as soon as they're available on the website. They include Joe Napoli saying that three companies are 'interested' in naming rights. Originally, naming rights were projected to bring in $14 million. As I wrote here,
According to namingrightsonline.com, getting $14 million for our new arena - even if combined with naming rights for the convention center - would put us third highest in the country. While I'd LOVE to have someone walk in and plop down a check for $14 million to name the arena, prudence tells us that such a company would do their research and know what naming rights are going for and make an appropriate offer.
Napoli explains that there is 'support' for the arena project. That's a good thing. However, until 'support' transforms into 'financial participation,' all we're doing is gauging interest - not intensity. While there is a lot of 'support' in the community for a new arena, the intensity of that support, especially when your own money is on the line, hasn't yet been demonstrated and the economic conditions in the county may mean that original projections must be revised.
The biggest problem is the design of the arena. I'm at a loss for how you can build a structure without having the final design. The numbers being used lately for the cost of the arena have increased with the project now estimated at around $105 million, even though no one (except me) has held the Commissioners accountable for where they're going to get the $25 million increase ...
I can understand that estimates of costs are just that - estimates - and that actual costs would depend upon the returned bids for the various components. But the final design needs to be done PRIOR to the bids being offered, otherwise, the bidders have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. Based upon the final design, there should be an estimate of costs and, prior to bids ever being offered, there should be a new financing plan that identifies the sources for all funds for the arena costs.
And without a sound and sufficient financing plan, the bids should NOT be offered.
If you agree, tell the Commissioners:
Tina Skeldon Wozniak: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Gerken: email@example.com
Ben Konop: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: 419-213-4500
My prediction in March was that sometime between now and the opening of the arena, the Board of County Commissioners will announce that they need more money in order to finish what they've started. I also predicted the logic will be that "we can't stop now when we're halfway through the construction, so you need to support a tax or levy or some other source of additional public financing."
I, too, would like a new arena. I'm supportive of the project - but my support is dependent upon the ability of the Commissioners to keep their promises that no tax monies except the hotel/motel tax will go toward the project. And having been in elective office, I'm skeptical - and rightly so.