Browns Ask City For Seven Years Of Stadium Repair Money, Totaling $5.8M
The Browns want the city of Cleveland to "give the team seven years of football stadium repair money -- $5.8 million -- right now," according to Thomas Ott of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The team "contends the work is necessary to maintain a 12-year-old stadium battered by a sometimes harsh northern climate, and it has asked for an exception to a 30-year lease that calls for the city to set aside $850,000 a year for major repairs." Under the "complicated proposal, the Browns would get this year's $850,000 plus $5 million from the next six years of repair money drawn from the tax revenue collected countywide on alcohol and tobacco sales and administered by the city." In exchange, the city would "not have to make its annual contributions from the tax money to a stadium repair fund for the next six years." The Browns' request "requires approval from the City Council." Councilman Michael Polensek, a "frequent critic of public subsidies for professional sports teams, said he hopes the team will shoulder all of the burden if it needs more money." The sin tax, which "expires in 2015, currently raises $13 million a year." Starting this spring, the city "must begin putting the sin tax money aside for stadium repairs" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/19).
FUNDING PLEDGE: In Buffalo, Tom Precious notes despite one administration budget document claiming New York "was setting aside money in an $84 million pot to help keep the Buffalo Bills in Western New York, it turns out the money -- $2.94 million -- is merely the final year of a state funding pledge made in 1998 by former Gov. George E. Pataki when the team renovated its stadium." The budget contains "no indication as to whether the state will commit any new money to keeping the team in Buffalo when the stadium lease expires in July 2013" (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/19).