Facts are needed to decide on the upcoming Jaguar deal

With negotiations between the city government and the Jacksonville Jaguars over a new lease winding down, the City Council could get an agreement to vote on within a few weeks.

Eye on Jacksonville thought it would be a good idea to attempt a cost/benefit analysis, which of course any rational person would do on deciding upon such an agreement.

Much to our surprise, no one in city government has an idea what the costs and benefits are of having a National Football League team in town for the past 30 years.

Over the years, the city has given the team incentives, perks, concessions, tax breaks etc. and has gotten benefits from having the team in the city, including stadium rental.

But without the actual numbers, how can anyone compare them to determine if there is a net benefit to the taxpayers before and after any proposed changes?

Sources tell us such a summation is being done by the City Council auditor. The mayor’s office promised to try to produce one for us.

City Council President Ron Salem, who has been keeping tabs on the negotiations, told Eye there would be benefits to the community in the final agreement.

The agreement will spell out how much the taxpayers in Jacksonville will contribute to the anticipated $1.4 billion cost of a new stadium. Without that stadium, presumably the owner of the team would consider moving to another venue.

There are Jag boosters who would agree to any amount to keep the team here. There also are non-fans who wouldn’t pay a nickel. In between are those willing to pay a reasonable amount to continue having pro football in Jacksonville.

Aside from the dollars and cents there are intangible benefits to having an NFL team but in the end those must be weighed in order for the people and their representatives to make an intelligent decision.

We can expect a lot of rhetoric when the agreement is presented to the council but it would be helpful if some actual facts about the costs and benefits were available.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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