Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hagan, Buckhorn to Discuss Stadium Finances for First Time

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan regularly chat behind closed doors, but when they meet tomorrow morning, a horde of reporters will be waiting outside.

It'll be the first time the two officials catch up since St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster opened the floodgates on the Rays-to-Tampa talks.  Hopefully the conversation can finally shift a little bit to how anyone might be able to pay for a new stadium.

We're now learning Tampa's Dowtown TIF may only cover about $50 million in construction costs, rather than the $100 million we previously thought.  That leaves a mighty big financing gap if Tampa wants to build a stadium...and a mighty big mountain for Hagan and Buckhorn to climb.

Meanwhile, don't count out a possible Pinellas County stadium near the Howard Frankland Bridge.  The county's tourist development council (TDC), which we already knew had more available money that Hillsborough did, found out today they may have even more than they first realized:

"Pinellas County Commissioners were also shocked to hear from county administrator Bob LaSala that they might be able to get their hands on even more tourism dollars," wrote WMNF Radio.

Lasala said: “There is language in the state legislation that allows counties that have $600 million of sales subject to the bed tax to levy an additional 6th cent on the bed tax. The way that is done, county commission vote is taken and it would take five affirmative votes out of seven in order to do that.”

Increasing the bed tax could raise another $6 million a year, or enough to probably cover an additional $90 million in stadium construction - on top of the hundreds of millions in Pinellas bonding power that will be available once the Trop bonds are paid off.  (Legally, Hillsborough cannot raise its bed tax right now)

There are, however, lots of hungry mouths to feed in Pinellas too.  With a Clearwater Marina expansion, beach renourishment, and even possible spring training needs on the horizon, a new Rays stadium is not a top public financing priority to many folks in Pinellas, either.


  1. Can tampa get business to foot some of the bill is that possible or no?

    1. Some, but few businesses have any real incentive to put money toward a new baseball building. Donating land, maybe, but may not close big funding gap for the $600M stadium.

  2. There will never be a "financing gap" as long as the (local & tourist) taxpayers/sheep allow the pol's to dig deeper into their pockets.

  3. I love the Rays. I hope they can find room to make this work.