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FIRST ON 3: Wilmington City Manager reports $1 million in extra city sales tax revenue; Wants to spend half on baseball & hotel

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- In a proposal to the Wilmington City Council for their consideration Tuesday evening, City Manager Sterling Cheatham reports that the city will have an unexpected $1 million extra in sales tax revenue for this fiscal year.

"Based on current year receipts, it is forecast that the City’s sales tax revenue will exceed budget by approximately $1,000,000," the city manager wrote in his proposal.

One line later, though, he's ready to spend half of it on further studies and legal fees for the new Wilmington Convention Center hotel and the baseball stadium. The move would use the extra sales tax money to pay for the expenditures instead of taking it out of the 2012/13 budget.

"The total amount requested for both projects (hotel and stadium) is $492,760," the proposal says. "In an effort to utilize unanticipated excess sales tax revenue and maintain the balanced recommended budget for FY 2013, it is recommended that Council approve this appropriation."

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If this stadium was such a

If this stadium was such a great money-maker, there would be a lot more private investments in it.

As it is, I noticed today that there are a lot of main roads that need improvement. At times today, I felt as if I was driving in Brunswick County. But, at least Brunswick County is working to improve a lot of the main roads. The Wilmington Idiot is hellbent on building this stadium so Wilmington will be getting a new stadium. Hopefully, this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and the citizens of Wilmington will finally vote these dimwits out. But, then again, the citizens kept them after the convention center was forced on them.

How about NOT spending it

Here's a novel idea: Since the taxpayers have been overcharged, let's get a refund!

Typical Government attitude

A half-million dollar surplus and the first thing thought of is spending half of it on further studies and legal fees for the new Wilmington Convention Center hotel and the baseball stadium.

These people have never heard of a bad economy. The spending leads me to believe that the team, stadium, and deal with Mandalay has already been decided.

Why can't the city find more important uses for the money?
Or better yet, save it, if possible.

The future is not guaranteed to be fat and happy.

But politicians will find some way to blow it.

If you walk or drive down Water street or nearby, these streets will beat your car to death.

The bricks next to the riverwalk will trip people because they are not level.

There's a ton of useful projects if the money is to be spent.

But these city leaders want to ram baseball down our throats.

It's already a done deal.

"Perfect Name in Office"

Is it Cheatham...or Cheat 'Em? Either way...his name fits the bill!

Woo-hoo! Extra money!

Another round of drinks for my friends!

Now, anyone with a brain would use the extra money to pay down debt or purchase something they really need (like full services to the areas that were annexed YEARS ago).

But no...good ol' Wilmington, will simply blow the money on junk that will amount to nothing. The money will be gone in a year and you will still be staring at that mountain of debt that your city leaders want to enlarge.

Any wonder why the county residents shoot down consolidation on every vote? You people are idiots!

Presto and...

Alakazam! So instead of spending it on infrastructure we want to spend half of it on baseball. This idiot council and it's court jester Sterling Cheatham have no vision at all for the city. I wonder if any of these morons have ever heard of a "rainy day".

The NSS report

Makes a gross assumption for the Wilmington area.
Using 2011 census data from wiki and the NSS report on comparable attendance figures from other comparable cities I found that the team in Cedar Rapids (city pop of 126,326) had an average attendance of 2578 or just over 2% of the city population.
Fort Wayne (city population of 253,691) had an average attendance of 5612 or just over 2% of the city population
Wilmington has a population of 106,476 and an estimated attendance of 3400 in year 2017 (pg 73 of the report).
This comes out to over 3% of the cities population.
Why is there a such a large difference? Is NSS overstating the estimated popularity of baseball in Wilmington? Their own figures suggest that they are!
Now look at other uses.
Wilmington area HS Baseball coaches expressed "interest" if the right deal could be worked out however all said that budgeted monies were very tight and each has their own field already. My take on this is high school baseball is not a viable alternate use.
The Wilmington Sharks were vehemently opposed and suggested they would leave should this stadium be built. So they are out.
The Hammerheads were happy with Legion Stadium. So they are out
UNC-W seems to have the biggest interest and I think they could actually do well with a stadium "off campus".
So what other events? Concerts? Sorry convention center would have first dibs and indoor (read air conditioned spaces) are far better for concert goers. Same goes for high school graduations.
Little league? Average attendance is maybe couple of hundred folks, if that. Religious events? Possible but not probable.

The convention center offers far better accommodations for most events and would directly compete against this stadium. I cringe having one albatross around our necks already - we certainly don't need two. Especially if these two are cannibalizing each others events.
I don't know what our city leaders are thinking. We are a coastal city with a virtual limitless playground called beaches. It's why people come here. Fort Wayne can't offer that, nor can Winston Salem or Greensboro. We already have lost a AA minor league team when the Port City Roosters moved out due to lack of attendance.
Yet NSS estimates show they anticipate not the average of 2% of total city population to attend the games they estimate 3% - when in fact there's so much more to do in this area!
And they want a $24M commitment from Wilmington? Of course they will also have costs and they still have not purchased the team they plan to move here (thats also in the report).
This is too "pie in the sky" for me. Sure baseball is popular the survey shows this, but when it comes to paying for it the enthusiasm diminishes quite a bit.
Walk away NOW city council - the numbers do not add up.

Best Regards
Vog

attendance numbers

Want to preface my comment by saying I'm not familiar with these cities and haven't finished looking at the report yet, but is it possible they used an increased number because they included a broader area? Like including parts of Pender and Brunswick counties?

Guest ?

I used the cities that the report said were closest in comparison to Wilmington. The report includes some cities (Like Greensboro) which are far larger.
But then they start to include the metro areas of some cities. So the NSS report is inconsistent when it comes to comparisons.
For instance - the report claims that one of the reasons for baseball being so "viable" in Wilmington is the nearby military facilities.
OK:
Wilmington to Camp LeJeunne = 69 miles
Wilmington to Fort Bragg = 100 miles
Wilmington to Seymour Johnson = 96 miles
So they use bases 70+ miles away as a justification? Wow. If you used that distance in Greensboro for example you'd then have to include the population of Winston Salem and other large Piedmont cities.
Honestly Guest? The only fair comparison was to city populations but as I opined before we do NOT have a large population to draw from outside the city limits.
And our city could not, or didn't want to support, minor league AA baseball when the Port City Roosters moved out in the late 90s.
In these surveys they purposely obfuscate numbers and choose numbers that justify their beliefs and minimize all others.
But when I noticed the percentages I got concerned as NSS claims that a 50% more of this city's population here would attend games compared to average attendance from other city's.
If they based their economic impact on that large a discrepancy then the impact is VERY OVERSTATED and would be impacted greatly by location of the stadium - so the numbers are kinda screwy. What keyed me to the folly of this report was that Mandalay had negotiated with the city to give the City $1 per ticket sold after I think 300,00 (or 400,000 not sure which) tickets were sold in the year. The problem? By their very own estimates attendance would NEVER reach this level. And if the Port City Roosters attendance was any indication they grossly overestimated the figures.
Don't get me wrong we all love baseball - it IS Americas past time but I don't think we love it enough to commit to $24M of taxpayer monies.
But it is fun to play with the numbers

Best Regards
Vog

Are you freakin crazy...So

Are you freakin crazy...So after the Monkey Junction BULLY ANNEXATION issue and an added Million $ slap in the face to the city/county residents and NOW you want taxpayers to partial pay a Million $$'s for Baseball & Hotel and spend outrageous fees for MORE studies & OVERPAID Lawyers to slowly come to a undisclosed conclusion that the residents in the City of Wilmington are getting railroaded...I do not go to ballgames or watch them on TV...I have better things to do than to watch people chase and throw a ball back and forth, back and forth, kinda like the money you want to WASTE doing studies and who knows what else...and with all the struggling families in town, who can afford to go to a Hotel? why should we help fund your jollies, what's your money bonus?...Why don't y'all use your brains and fix the SEWER PIPES before another bursts downtown, since according to STUDIES ALREADY DONE, they were projected to only last 50-60 yrs...or find out and fix the brick road on Front St...looks like a quake line...Common Sense goes along way...Money doesn't!!! What's the term...Don't Spend what you don't have! The political realm is just getting worse and worse every day on every level...sigh

How convenient to find a

How convenient to find a cool mill laying around just waiting to be blown! All the hype about budget troubles in this city...and they find an xtra million dollars laying around?
Proof...these council people need to go. Don't go away mad...just go away!
Take notes WWAY of all these little happenings and compile them later for us all to read...right around election time.
PS: Since we citizens were over charged...we want it back...with Interest!

money

My understanding is that this is from sales taxes. The county decides bow much they give the city and the city has no control over that. It's not like there was spare money "laying around." Same with most of the state funding. The city doesn't know what they will or won't get from the state until after the state finishes their budget. That has to make it hard to pass a balanced budget by the end of June.

Loving it.....and here in 2014

Baseball and Stadium will make us money,invest in the best interests of our citizens.
Each week the deal gets better.

Really?

So there may be a $1,000,000 exceeded budget money and instead of doing something constructive like create real jobs or maybe give back to the tax payer, this idiot, Sterling Cheatham, looks and sees a way to throw the money away. Hey Cheat-em, why not pay me that money and I can give you a worthless survey about a convention center and ball field, which any way you want to spin it is worth the paper it is written on. Why not do your job and do some research yourself or find an independent person or company to do it for less?

You sir, need to go.

Ball Park

To those wanting to bring baseball to Wilmington,"take your money, your jobs, and your offer of entertainment elsewhere". Historic Wilmington, with its charm and southern hospitality, is increasingly becoming the "anti" capital of North Carolina. The eccentrics, tea-partiers, and negative minority are against everything positive. If they had their wish, there would be a sign at the Wilmington city limits saying "Private Property - Keep Out".
Ventures like minor league baseball have a hard enough time making it in cities where they are wanted. Be a realist. Take your show somewhere that it will be appreciated. A Wilmington run by the loud mouths and anti-progress groups, does not deserve your investment.

no more debt

Wilmington needs to take care of what it has before it tries to take on more debt.