As the controversy surrounding the approved Phoenix Coyotes deal grows, a Glendale council member spoke out in favor of the deal.
“I voted yes because it’s good for Glendale,” said Glendale Council Member Joyce Clark on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos Show. “It’s good for Westgate. It’s good for the community to have a vision, hold that vision and keep that vision as Glendale rebounds, grows and develops further.”
Clark said the city is still facing a $23 million deficit, even without the Coyotes. That number increases to $35 million with the Coyotes.
Another issue facing the Coyotes eventual sale and the arena agreement between the city and prospective owner Greg Jamison was the lack of two exhibits in the contract approved on Friday, exhibits the Goldwater Institute said are essential to the deal: a budget for the arena and a performance standard for the arena management company.
“We knew what it would bring into Glendale financially,” said Clark. “And quite frankly, I consider the Goldwater Institute to be throwing up a smoke screen. The two documents that the [Goldwater Institute] was referring to have not been prepared yet and it makes perfect sense why they have not.”
Clark said the arena budget is dependent on the NHL first finalizing Jamison as the owner of the Coyotes, at which point the city and team will decide on the arena’s budget. The same goes for the performance standards.
Clark said that the city is prepared to pay Jamison $17 million per year to manage the stadium and he can either turn a profit or lose money, depending on how he operates the arena.
While taxes would have to be raised to help pay for the team, Clark said the upped property taxes go to bond repayment. Those bonds had to have been issued for city capital improvements. However, Clark said the 52 percent drop in property taxes the city has seen over the past four years has hurt the city’s future plans.
“We’re not bringing in enough property tax revenue top pay off those bonds that we issued over the past ten years,” said Clark of bonds the city has issued to build other structures. “And quite frankly, we’ve frozen our capital improvement program for the next five years, anticipating the fact that there isn’t enough revenue. So the property tax has nothing to do with Coyotes.”
Glendale would still have to pay for the arena no matter what.