Answers to Port City Baseball’s fast Facts/ Illusions; PCB aka “Fields of Schemes”
Major Economic Benefits and Job Creation:
1-Economic Impact – The city’s independent consultant projected the multi-use facility will generate an economic impact of $242 million in Wilmington.
Answer: They fail to state if this amount is each year or over the 20 year period that the tax payers will be on the “hook” for the loan payments. Ask these people to break this down and show where/how this money will be spent. The money spent in the stadium is money that would be spent in the city and county anyway. This is not “new revenue,” it redistribution of money that would be spent at other locations, thus hurting existing businesses, not helping them. The use of tax payer money to subsidize this stadium is unfair to the businesses that did not receive millions and millions of dollars in subsidies. It gives the stadium an unfair advantage and is why the government needs to stay out of private enterprise.
2-Wages for Wilmington – Over the term of the bond the multi-use facility’s operations will support $74 million in wages to Wilmington residents
Answer: The agreement states 25 full time jobs @ approx. $32,000.00 per year. 25 x 32 = $640,000.00 per year. Multiply this by 20 years and the full time employees receive $12,800,000.00 over 20 years. This leaves $61,200,000.00 according to their figures to pay the popcorn and peanut salesmen over 20 years. Does anyone really believe this? Once again ask them to break down their ridiculous claim……
3-Hotels, Restaurants, & Retail – The facility will bring additional visitors to our city and draw consumers to Wilmington establishments. Visiting teams and officials will generate an estimated 1,750 hotel room stays each year, with visiting fans booking even more.
Answer: The greatest majority of fans attending minor league single A baseball games live within 30 miles of the stadium. They eat and drink in the stadium and go home when the game is over. There is no economic benefit to other businesses and since Mandalay keeps all the money generated inside the stadium, the tax payers and businesses get nothing for their 58 million dollar investment.
4-A Multi-Use Facility – The city has estimated the facility could host at least 150 events per year, such as private functions, corporate events, community gatherings, or charity events.
Answer: The contract calls for up to/maybe 10 non baseball events per year by the city, and the city has to pay Mandalay to oversee these events. 70 baseball games and “maybe” 10 other events put on by the city does not equal 150 yearly events. Once again another blanket statement issued without any proof or list of events. They offer no breakdown of each event showing they will be profitable either. Remember if Mandalay puts on other events, Mandalay gets 100% of the profits from these events. Please ask for a list of “other” events and how many per year has Myrtle Beach done. Anyone can estimate anything, does Port City Baseball have any verifiable facts they can present?
5-A Public / Private Project:
Answer: Where is the private investment? The Wilmington tax payers spend 58 million dollars (and counting), and Mandalay, The Braves, and their billionaire owner get ALL the PROFITS! What a deal for “The Three Beggars.”
6-The True Cost for Taxpayers – The bond referendum will be financed with a 2.5-cent property tax rate increase. For the average Wilmington homeowner, this is about four dollars per month.
Answer: This cost per tax payer depends on the tax value of your property. If property values increase, the cost increases. Multiply 2.5 per 100 dollar tax value to figure what your tax increase will be. Everyone needs to ask themselves if they feel the need to vote themselves a tax increase to subsidize a man whose wealth is 5.4 BILLION DOLLARS. His net worth has increased 300 million dollars in the last 6 months. These people, the members of the Billionaires Beggar Club, need to pay for their own projects. Has anyone that he is asking to pay for this stadium seen any increase in their personal wealth? That the city government would even ask the tax payers to fund this is ridiculous……The cost of the stadium if the Mayor and councilman O’Shady are to be believed, is 37 million dollars. This financed for 20 years equals approx. 58 million dollars. The cost of the bond if property values stay the same for 20 years is 75 million dollars. It would appear that there is a slush fund built into it for the government that totals at least 17 million dollars. Ask the Mayor what this money will be used for. The Convention Center comes to mind, that other can’t miss project that loses money every single day……It looks like a plan to get the tax payers to fund the CC without telling them they are doing it……………..
7-Major Private Investment – The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball will invest significantly in the project. In addition to paying the highest rent in the Carolina League, the owners will make a multi-million dollar investment to purchase and relocate a team, pay operations costs, and pay all players’ salaries.
Answer: They get a 58 million dollar stadium handed to them, and they agree to pay “their players” and the light bill. The highest rent is an illusion. Subtract the office space rent from this amount and the fees Mandalay gets to oversee the city’s events, and then you will know the true amount they will pay in rent. I would also like to know if they get to keep all the ticket revenue, concessions, and all in stadium advertising at these other locations. Mandalay also gets the first $350,000.00 of naming rights for the stadium and 50% over the first $350,000.00. Mandalay also gets 2.9 million dollars handed to them up front to buy furniture with. This is $100,000.00 less than 6 years rent. This highest rent claim is not accurate when everything in the contract is considered. 20 years rent @ $500,000.00 equals 10 million dollars. If you just subtract the 2.9 million for furniture and the 350 thousand naming rights the rent is down to $337,500.00 per year. The $500,000.00 per year is an illusion......
8-A Long-Term Commitment to the Community – The Atlanta Braves have legally committed to field a team in Wilmington for at least 20 years.
Answer: Read the contract, this is a lie. Mandalay can leave whenever they want. The Braves are only obligated for 18 months if Mandalay leaves. There is the very real possibility that Wilmington could be stuck with an empty stadium with a big mortgage. Check with Kinston and see how many events they hold in their deserted stadium and how profitable these events are. Also ask Kinston why their team left.
The Right Partners:
9-Sellout Crowds – Mandalay Baseball, the owner/operator for the proposed project, is one of the country’s most successful Minor League operators. Their team in Dayton, Ohio has set the professional sports record by selling out every single home game ever held, a consecutive 913 games and counting!
Answer: Wilmington is not Dayton. Dayton has over 1 million people within a 30 mile radius of their city. Wilmington has a little over 130 thousand. Wilmington has many other things to do. This is not an accurate example and the pro side knows it. Myrtle Beach does not sell out their stadium very often, why don’t they use this as an example?
10-Our Hometown Team – The Atlanta Braves are the longest continually-operating franchise in professional sports since their debut in the National League in 1876, winning 16 divisional titles, 17 National league pennants, and three World Series Championships. They are the only MLB franchise to have won the World Series in three different home cities. Wilmington is in Braves Country.
Answer: They are not bringing the Atlanta Braves to Wilmington. They want to bring the Lynchburg Hillcats. Single A baseball does not compare to Major League Baseball. This is just more fluff without substance.
The Right Location
11-Cape Fear Riverfront – The city has identified the northern Downtown riverfront as the location of the proposed ballpark. It will serve as a lynchpin in an area that many see as essential to the continuing growth of Wilmington.
Answer: What other businesses can afford to buy the polluted property on the river? Is Wilmington planning on buying the property, cleaning up the property, building their buildings for them, and then renting these buildings to them for a fraction of the loan costs while allowing them to keep all profits? If this is the long term plan, bankruptcy will be in Wilmington’s future.
Wilmington is currently paying its employees an average of 10% less than other local cities. This is causing high turnover rates and excessive training costs. The roads and sewers are in disrepair. Traffic is a huge problem without adding a stadium downtown. This is a recipe for disaster for the tax payers. People will not sit in traffic jams 70 times a year to watch minor league baseball. Other people will avoid the area on game days to avoid the traffic jams. This does not help the businesses around the stadium, it hurts them.
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