Don’t Believe The El Paso Media Freak Out Fest Over The Downtown El Paso Ballpark
‘El Paso ballpark costs may rise $10M’! ‘City wants $10 million more for ballpark construction’!! ‘The cost of the downtown AAA ballpark is about to go up. Way up’!!! The downtown ballpark doesn’t need any help in causing people to freak out, but the El Paso media is doing it’s best to continue to stoke the freak out fires. So what’s the real deal on the ‘additional 10 million dollars’ that city officials are being asked for? Well, pull up a chair and I’ll try to break it down for you, and why you shouldn’t believe the drama queen El Paso Media.
When the ballpark was proposed, city officials said that it would cost 50 million dollars. I won’t go into all the back and forth about why it wasn’t put before voters, let’s just fast forward to the media feeding frenzy that happened yesterday when it was announced that City Council was going to be asked for 10 million more dollars for the ballpark.
The company that is building the ballpark, CF Jordan, came in with a 40 million dollar construction estimate, or 10 million less than the proposed 50 million dollar cost. Yesterday, city officials said that they would like to use the additional 10 million dollars that was originally budgeted for street and sidewalk work around the ballpark and for unexpected costs that may come up during construction.
3 million of the 10 million dollars would come from certificates of obligation that were already set to be used for Downtown street projects in 2010. 2 million dollars would come from the 2012 quality-of-life bonds that were overwhelmingly approved by voters in November, and earmarked for improvements to the Downtown cultural district.
The last 5 million dollars would be a contingency funds that would fund amenities like as a bar-restaurant, or group and party suites that might not be part of the original 40 million dollar construction estimate. The sale of revenue bonds to be repaid through the hotel occupancy tax increase approved by voters in November, as well as ticket surcharges, parking fees and stadium lease payments would fund that 5 million dollars.
My fave City Rep, Eddie Holguin, who has been against the ballpark from the beginning says he won’t vote for the 10 million dollars because “This ballpark is being built on a mountain of lies.”
Actually, Eddie, it’s always been 50 million dollars, and the 10 million dollars will still be within that budgeted amount, so where is the lie?
A district judge in Austin said in February that the City can issue up to 57 million dollars in bonds for the ballpark, but that doesn’t mean the City will do that.
I know this is a hot button issue, but really El Paso Media, can you guys tell the truth and just for once, not go for the cheap headline?