Sea Dogs: A Better Deal Struck
The hardball tactics that were utilized by Councilors Donoghue, Leeman, Duson, and I have lead to a much better deal for the City of Portland. Just minutes before the Council meeting on June 18th, the final details were presented to the Council by the City Staff.
The new deal will save the City $1 million in subsidies over the next 20 years. Unlike the original deal, the Sea Dogs will take out the loan to pay for the $1.7 million clubhouse instead of the City. Additionally, the Sea Dogs will take responsibility for field maintenance in trade for parking revenues.
The City Council passed the new deal that will provide $1.7 million to the Sea Dogs over the next 20 years, which equals just over $85,000 each year. In the original deal the City would have provided $150,000 per year for the same period of time.
City Manager Joe Gray estimated that it would cost the City around $60,000 per year to maintain the physical infrastructure of Hadlock Field even if the Sea Dogs were not leasing the field. As the field is owned by the City, the subsidy to the Sea Dogs has been shrunk to just $25,000 per year once the infrastructure costs are subtracted.
On May 21st the Council postponed action on the original deal due to lack of support. Seven votes out of nine were needed to pass the City bond of $1.7 million in the original deal. Councilor Duson was still undecided and Councilors Donoghue, Leeman, and I refused to vote for the deal if it included subsidies for the Sea Dogs and the City bond.
Now the Sea Dogs will take the risk on the 20-year bond for the new clubhouse and pay the financing on the bond instead of the City. Additionally, the City will not have to pay for the bond out of the Capital Improvements Program, which would have taken up 17% of this year’s CIP. The City has a self-imposed cap of $10 million for the CIP that pays all of the infrastructure maintenance in Portland.
Councilor Dave Marshall