The nay voter explains why

Once again, Jacksonville is going to have a “stadium of the future.”

It got one when the municipal stadium was built in 1927. Got it again when it was rebuilt or expanded in 1946 and numerous times afterward, the most recent in 1995.

This time the cost will be $2.4 billion. But in 25-30 years, or less, another even more costly one will be needed if Jacksonville still has an NFL team.

Most pro football teams expect the city they represent to provide them with a stadium – a first-class stadium.

The city’s taxpayers will foot half the cost. In return, the city gets…. What?

We don’t know because the mayor and City Council didn’t bother to do a cost-benefit analysis before voting 14-1 to rebuild the stadium.

They simply asserted that there are benefits – which everyone knew – without going to the trouble of quantifying them to determine if they outweigh the cost.

The lone “no” vote was cast by Council Member Mike Gay, who represents Arlington.

He posted an explanation of his vote on social media:

Two members abstained from voting but Gay said, “I rise to clarify my position on voting for the stadium. I am cleared by Ethics and OGC to abstain from voting on this stadium legislation and be able to participate in the construction. I, however, choose to forgo any participation with my business in the stadium construction to be able to vote. I feel it is more important for me to represent the voters that elected me to be a voice for them rather than my business to profit off of the stadium project.”

Gey said he was concerned about the city’s finances and objected to the timeline of the stadium lease.

“The Jaguars have had 4 years to put this deal together, the mayor’s office had 8-plus months, and the City Council has had less than four weeks to analyze the information.”

Here are a few examples of problems Gay saw:

The team and the taxpayers each will put up $350 million for community benefits, but the city’s portion is paid in four years and the team’s is paid over 30 years

He said the Jacksonville Jaguars get naming rights – worth $147 million over 30 years. The Jaguars share of the CBA (Community Benefits Agreement) is $150 million over 30 years.

“It’s a wash,” Gay said.

Gay noted:

  • $25 million is included in the team’s portion of the stadium construction, but it will be credited out with the purchase of the ROFO. (Right of First Offer).
  • The delinquent Super Bowl debt, is $20 million.
  • The city’s sales tax savings benefit worth $25 million is given to the Jaguars,

Those three items equate to another $70 million loss to the city, he said.

He also claims normal construction practices were not being followed.

Lastly, Gay complained about the lack of a referendum.

“We can do better than this and we owe it to our citizens,” Gay said.

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.


Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *