SBD/December 3, 2012/Facilities

Arlington Expected To Pay Back Cowboys Stadium Debt Quicker Than Anticipated

The city of Arlington is required to pay a minimum $21M each year on stadium debt
Spurred by record sales tax revenue, the city of Arlington, Texas, is “poised to pay off a significant portion of its $325 million Cowboys Stadium debt years early, a move that is expected to save taxpayers at least $64.5 million,” according to Susan Schrock of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. Arlington voters in ’04 “approved a 30-year, $325 million bond package to help build the $1.15 billion stadium.” The bonds are “being repaid with a half-cent sales tax, a 2 percent hotel occupancy tax and a 5 percent car rental tax.” That revenue is "coming in higher than expected.” Arlington Assistant Dir of Fiscal Policy Mike Finley said that the city at a minimum is “required to pay about $21 million on the debt every year, but the half-cent sales tax alone is generating about $25 million a year.” From ’05-11, Arlington “collected $35.2 million more in stadium revenue than what was required.” City Mayor Robert Cluck said that the city’s economy is “doing so well that he expects the entire stadium debt to be paid off 12 to 15 years early” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 12/1).

BIRD SEED MONEY: In Atlanta, Leon Stafford cited financial disclosures showing that in its bid to land the Falcons a new stadium, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority since '09 has "spent $1.6 million on lawyers, land surveys, sports facilities consultants and $17,000 for trips to arenas across the country that could be the template for a new stadium." GWCCA leaders "argue the expenditures ... are necessary to ensure they procure the best possible deal for the state" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 12/2).

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