Letter: Study details about baseball deal
Monday, June 6, 2011
Is the proposal to bring a Class A Minor League baseball team here a good deal? Clark College has agreed to donate the land. The Yakima Bears have agreed to pay for 30 percent of the construction costs, cover maintenance and operations, and rent the facility to Clark College and other organizations (at a profit).
The county is considering a 5 percent ticket tax to pay for their 70 percent share of the costs, a $16 million bond to be repaid over about 30 years. There are some problems. The process is on a fast track so the team can play here next season. No study of other partners, financial feasibility, or alternative locations has been done.
The 5 percent ticket tax will be levied against all entertainment businesses and events in the county. That means increased ticket prices for patrons or reduced profits for businesses.
The Sleep Country Amphitheater was constructed with no public dollars. Why have the rules changed for baseball? The stadium seating capacity is about equal to the average attendance at amphitheater concerts. Can they survive the competition?
County commissioners, slow down. Do your homework before signing any agreements.