Phoenix councilman will vote no on Suns arena but thinks it will pass

Jan 23, 2019, 7:49 AM | Updated: 6:08 pm
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(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX – The $235 million proposal to renovate the Phoenix Suns arena will pass Wednesday’s City Council vote, said a councilman who will be deciding against the deal.

“They’ve got the votes, they’ve got it all locked up right now. It should be a 5-3 vote,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio said on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News, hours before the meeting. The actual vote turned out to be 6-2, with Jim Waring joining DiCiccio as a no vote.

DiCiccio has been against the plan from the start. “It’s basically a miscarriage of justice,” he said.

A December vote was delayed after the council decided to host a series of public meetings explaining the deal, following an outcry from taxpayers.

The city, which owns Talking Stick Resort Arena, will put up $150 million and the NBA team $80 million.

The revenue stream will give the Suns $14 million a year and taxpayers about $2.5 million, the District 6 councilman said.

“Why are we not sharing in the revenue stream? As landlords, you expect the person that’s putting in the majority of the monies to get the majority of the revenue stream.”

An OH Predictive Insights poll of 493 likely Phoenix voters showed that 49 percent supported the deal after they were told how it was funded and the arena’s economic impact.

When poll respondents had only been told how much the city would pay versus how much the Suns would pay, the numbers shot to 52 percent against the deal.

The poll was taken during Christmas week.

“You can’t just look at it at the cost side — everyone is going ‘It’s going to cost $150 million.’ … You have to look at the revenue side,” DiCiccio said.

“The deal that [former Suns executive Jerry] Colangelo put together had the majority of money, about $150 million … coincidentally, the Suns put in. We put in $79 million as taxpayers, but … got the majority of the money from the revenue stream.”

The city has “landlord responsibilities” to pay for infrastructure repairs to the building, outlined as about $100 million in a public document.

The council meeting was scheduled to being at 2:30 p.m. The arena renovation was listed as item No. 26 on the agenda.

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Phoenix councilman will vote no on Suns arena but thinks it will pass