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D.C. council members met with city officials to discuss the city's financial obligation toward the proposed $180M arena Bullets/Capitals owner Abe Pollin wants to build in downtown Washington. After initial reports put the city's portion of the cost at $12.5M, the Council was told yesterday that up to $65M could be needed. The increase is due to the fact that DC "did not take into account" all of the expenses they agreed to cover. According to Robert Pohlman, the city's interim chief executive financial officer, the majority of the DC funding, $25M, will go towards the purchase of the arena site and surrounding land for development. About $19M will go towards relocating city workers that presently work in offices that will be demolished (Jeanne Dewey, WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/26).
WI Governor Tommy Thompson's top aide says a "myriad of questions and complications remain" in the search for a way to pay for a new $223M stadium for the Brewers. These statements come on the eve of today's final meeting of the Milwaukee Stadium Commission, where a recommendation for a plan is expected to be submitted to Thompson. James Klauser, head of the state Department of Administration: "I am sure we'll find a way, but we have a lot of foundation work to do. Everybody will point the finger [at the state] and say 'You do it.' This has got to be a collaborative effort. The city and county have to participate as well." A report in yesterday afternoon's MILWAUKEE JOURNAL says the committee "may simply recommend a series of potential sources of public funds." It is estimated the state will need $18-$25M a year for the next 20 years to fund the project. Among the possibilities: a sports lottery that would be expected to provide from five to $15M a year and a regional sales tax for Milwaukee County and the surrounding counties. The sales tax option has "little political support and hostile opposition." Tuesday night in Racine County, just south of Milwaukee, the county board voted 24-2 against raising the county sales tax to finance a ballpark project. Milwaukee County official William Drew proposed the regional sales tax idea last week: "I'm still waiting for the first supporter to call me and say, 'Great idea.' Raising taxes is not a very politically popular type of thing to do" (Craig Gilbert, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL, 1/25).
The City of Minneapolis and MN Governor Arne Carlson yesterday asked local business leaders to help finance $12M of the $54M needed to buy the Target Center and complete the deal to sell the T-Wolves. Under the plan, the city will issue $42M in general obligation bonds, while local business leaders would buy $12M in additional bonds. Business leaders would be in a "secondary position," meaning they would not get returns on their investments until the city's obligations were paid. Among the local business leaders who met with officials Wednesday afternoon: Dayton-Hudson, Norwest Bank, First Bank, IDS, Honeywell, U.S. West and Cowles Media. Carlson and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Henry Savelkoul say the issue must be settled by March 1, the date by which Wolves and Target Center owners Marv Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner must inform the NBA if they plan on moving the franchise. Carlson, who called the arena a "state asset," says he will not need to ask the MN Legislature for help if business leaders can come through (Weiner & Diaz, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/26).