Reged: Sep 11 2006
Loc: Aurora, Ohio
City Council Approves money for Cleve. Browns Stadium
Tue Feb 07 2012 08:20 AM
I'm a little confused here. First it was that they Team asked the city for bunch of money, then the team (nance) says no, we'll front the cash, then the council approves the money.
I really don't know the truth
Cleveland City Council OKs $5.8 million for stadium repairs
Published: Monday, February 06, 2012, 10:00 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 07, 2012, 7:36 AM
By Thomas Ott, The Plain Dealer The Plain Dealer
Scott Shaw. Plain Dealer fileThe city will give the Cleveland Browns $5.8 million for repairs to the city-owned football stadium, shown at its opening in 1999.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The city has agreed to give the Cleveland Browns a $5.8 million lump sum for stadium repairs, but public officials worry about the source of such payments after a countywide tax for maintaining the building runs out in 2015.
City Council voted 16-2 Monday to let the team take the money from a city-administered tax on alcohol and tobacco sales. Cleveland, which leases the stadium to the football team, is required to provide only $850,000 a year for major improvements.
Browns general counsel Fred Nance, who represented the city when the lease was negotiated, said $850,000 was a compromise at the time the agreement was drawn up. He said the amount, equal to less than 1 percent of the building's $300 million construction cost, is not nearly enough to cover what he termed routine work.
The Browns want to use the nearly $6 million to refurbish seats and replace, repair and waterproof concrete inside and outside the 12-year-old building. Osborn Engineering's Jack Krebs, hired by the team, blamed Northeast Ohio's often severe winters for the damage.
"It's the climate we're in," he told the council during an afternoon hearing. "What I see here is not uncommon."
The Browns, sensitive to criticism of the team's deal with the city, came to the hearing armed with a breakdown of money it has invested in the stadium and the community.
Included were $74 million contributed to the construction, another $50 million paid for features such as escalators, a restaurant and team shop and more than $30 million spent on cleaning and other everyday maintenance. The team also detailed more than $2.9 million donated to community programs and sports facilities.
Ken Silliman, chief of staff to Mayor Frank Jackson, said the city reviewed the repair plans and confirmed the need. The agreement approved Monday is supposed to free the city from its repair obligations for seven years, but Silliman would not rule out tapping sin-tax money again during that time if necessary.
"We own Cleveland Browns Stadium," he told the council. "When you own a building and a few years go by, it starts to develop needs. It's just like when you own a home."
The so-called sin tax took effect in 1990. Voters initially approved the tax to finance Progressive Field and The Q, then extended it for 10 years, starting in 2005, to build and repair Cleveland Browns Stadium.
The ballot issue required that the first $87 million from the extension pay a portion of the stadium construction costs.
After the cap is reached this year, the next $29 million must be applied to repairs previously paid for out of the city's general fund. Silliman estimates that the sin tax will raise about $31 million through 2014.
Cleveland's obligations for stadium repairs will spike from $850,000 to $5.9 million a year in 2021. The amount will continue to rise annually, reaching $7.1 million before the lease runs out in 2025.
City Council members called for working with Cuyahoga County leaders to renew the sin tax for a second time. The discussion may be complicated because there's been talk of renewing the tax for fixing The Q and Progressive Field, which opened in 1994.
"We have to go back to voters for a conversation to extend that sin tax." Councilman Zack Reed said. "There's no other way around it,"
Silliman said Jackson is determined not to use more money from the city's general fund for stadium repairs. The chief of staff would not commit to a specific source of revenue to fund the work but said the sin tax is among the options.
Follow Thomas Ott on Twitter @thomasott1.
© 2012 cleveland.com. All rights reserved
Ooops,, forgot the link
If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving isn't for you
Edited by Damanshot (Tue Feb 07 2012 08:46 AM)