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Ballpark discussion continues despite likely tax hike, budget issues

READ MORE: Ballpark discussion continues despite likely tax hike, budget issues
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A drop in property values will most likely mean the City of Wilmington will have to raise property taxes to pay for its next budget. That issue has some residents asking whether the city should even be talking about building a baseball stadium.

"Part of the idea of the ball field is for there to be an economic development aspect to try and better some things for the city," Mayor Pro Tem Earl Sheridan said.

Regardless of whether the city of wilmington builds a baseball stadium, property taxes will likely go up.

Based on property value estimates the city's current tax rate of 37 cents would have to jump to 41 cents to keep a revenue neutral rate.

The city says that means a home owner whose property value decreased 14 percent would pay less tax under the new rate. But if your property value only dropped 4 percent, your tax bill will go up more than $40 a year.

That and other budget issues have many taxpayers we talked with wondering whether it makes financial sense to build a baseball stadium.

"Nothing makes financial sense right now," Wilmington resident Beverly Bobbe said. "Nothing at all."

Taxpayer Jennifer Chilcote said, "Maybe up front it could initially not seem that beneficial. I think eventually down the road it could bring us a little bit out of debt. It could help us a lot."

Some Wilmington taxpayers say the stadium is part of a facelift downtown needs no matter who's paying for it. Others totally disagree.

"All the various views that people have, you know, we run into people on the street, and they talk to us, we get e-mails, we get calls and those kinds of things. All of those kinds of things are going to be considered," Sheridan said.

Wilmington City Council meets tonight at 6:30. They will vote whether to spend more than $120,000 through June on the ballpark negotiations.

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BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SIGN

The wording of the anti-tax stadium is very dangerous. As it stands this is a very simply worded proposal that could very easily have far reaching and quite unintended consequences. The real question lies in how one defines "professional" sports activity. The obvious would certainly include any city funding of clearly professional sports like the baseball club that lies at the center of the dispute AND the "professional" soccer club that plays at Legion Stadium, and would probably exclude something like Little League (although an argument could be made there are "professional" aspects even there.) I mention thid just to show you how ambiguous thisd simple language can be. Also, the term "directly or indirectly" could have far reaching implications. Providing funds (i.e. money) clearly is a direct funding. But, giving an organization a tax exemption or similar benefit for being in the City of Wilmington clearly would be an "indirect" funding activity and would also be barred. Other possible "indirect" funding could be to provide police traffic and/or special security control at games, and similar publicly funded activities that the City might provide. Odd as it may sound this is one reason why legislation is typically written in lengthy and apparently convoluted language - so as to avoid ambiguity and unintended consequences. Regardless of which side of the controversy one is on, the language they are proposing is dangerous and will, if enacted as written, have gravely unintended consequences.

Just a question?

Just a question? Has the Atlanta Braves fully decided that they will come if we build a park? Will there be a contract drawn up before we spend the money? Or will we be left holding the bag after the park is built and they find another place to go? Just asking!!!

They are fully committed to

They are fully committed to coming here. There is already a team waiting to move into the stadium in Lynchburg they are vacating. The Braves are looking to enter into a guaranteed lease contract of no less than 20 years.

www.PortCityBaseball.com

Ballpark hooey....

Pro ball team owners have more money than they know what to to with. So do most of the players. Their contracts are ridiculous...millions! How do you think they get paid? By people like you and me. Ticket prices are so high that you can't afford to take your family to a pro game. Even for the major league teams, ticket sales are declining rapidly. So, what makes anyone think that this ball field make it? Research Diamond Stadium in Richmond Va. Another stadium that is in the heart of a downtown that was courted by the Braves before they pulled out.

If the Braves were 100% sure that Wilmington NC would be a sure money maker, they would invest 100% of the money to build it.

To tax the people of Wilmington for this is ludicrous. Even to spend $125,000 to "start negotiations" is crazy when there is already a huge deficit!!! Wake up people and voice your opposition now!!! Not that Saffo and his team of money grabbers care.

That is a common

That is a common misconception, the insane ticket prices and overblown contracts are in Major League Baseball, not minor league. Generally minor league ticket prices range from $5 - $15 each. They players are not grossly overpaid at this level. Obviously at times a player will come through the system, a top draft pick with a large signing bonus.

Take me out to the Ballgame

Front end alignment shops are begging for the ballpark. Since you have to drive over holes, dips, cracks and ruts in city roads to get to it alignments will increase. With our present sewer service when the pipes fail at the ball park the Cape Fear will become a sewage storage tank. Since we get our drinking water from the river we will be drinking the same crap City Council feeds us everyday anyway. Councilmen have to be getting personal gain because it is apparent mainstream citizens do not want the park at taxpayer expense. So what is dirtier, sewage or the city council?

As much as I love Wilmington

As much as I love Wilmington an as much as I really hate to say this, I must. The ones who are to blame for all of this nonsense are the ones who voted to keep Saffo and the City Council in office. They have a proven track record of only caring for themselves and their developer cronies. They couldn't care less about the people of Wilmington. So, please do the right thing when they come up for re-election and vote every single one of them out.

KEEP THE MONEY YOU EARNED

Why let a few people pick your pocket just to grow downtown,if they take it you can not afford what they offer you.Up coming 13 plus million dollar deficit should show you how the people that where voting into office really care about your hard earned money that they spend so freely.I am so tired of hearing from people that our tax money supply them a job that it is okay to raise taxes it keeps them in a job a getting raises.So go ahead a okay a ballpark if you want a higher tax increase.The people that think a tax increase does not affect them they are wrong,your rent is going up because the owner of the property will pass the increase in taxes and insurance along to you with higher rent.Just look at what happened when CFPUA was formed.The peop;\le in the county should have a say in the ballpark because the town gets part of sales tax from all over the county.

The city only collects taxes

The city only collects taxes from property inside the city limits.
Wilmington still has the best water rates of any of the top 25 cities in the state. See the article above about the cities cost efficiency.

Instead of a ball park, why

Instead of a ball park, why not build a permanent circus. Between Wilmington and Brunswick County, they already have 4 resident clowns, Charles Warren, Tim Jayne, Bryan Berger, and Big Top Leader, Bill Saffo. For wildlife, how about going to Columbus County and induct Frog and other friends of good 'ol R. C. Soles? Much less land will be needed, lower price tag and about as many will come.

Nailed it!

+1

Fools rule this city....

I love it! I almost spit my

I love it! I almost spit my coffee out laughing at Rednecks comments. Best of all...I completely agree with his/her comments. And as I've always said...take the Convention Center, once it goes under, and transform it into a Beagle Farm! Ruff Ruff!
The Dukes of Hazard in real life!

Just an FYI everyone thinks

Just an FYI everyone thinks the city tax payers are paying for the convention center, not true. Unless you stay overnight in a hotel, your not paying for the convention center. The money for the convention center comes from a room occupancy tax.
The first numbers for the convention center report says it is doing good. especially considering it still doesn't have a hotel attached.

Great point Beachbum!! Here

Great point Beachbum!!

Here is an article supporting just that.

http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/industry_news_details.php?id=3031

Using the convention center as an anti-stadium argument is just incorrect.

www.portcitybaseball.com