On Friday, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson met with council members in a closed session to discuss public funding options for requested improvements to Bank of America Stadium.
The city agreed to invest $143.75 million into Bank of America Stadium over the next 15 years, according to a press release from the city of Charlotte.
The Carolina Panthers will contribute $96.25 million over the same time frame as the city.
The organization has asked the state for $62.5 million.
The city plans to pay for its share of the upgrades by a proposed increase of one-percent to the Charlotte’s prepared food and beverage tax.
The first day of the retreat started out with talks about the Charlotte’s economic health, and videos about major projects in each district.
The afternoon discussion deteriorated with heated exchanges among city council members who say “there is a lack of trust” on the council.
Members say a divide developed on the council when discussions started last year about the street car. Some council members believe colleagues let the talks pit neighborhood against neighborhood.
Earlier in the day council members were asked to think about whether they want “Charlotte to be a top tier city or a second tier city?”
“What we have to be about is thinking not just about next year or two years from now” says Mayor Anthony Foxx, “we have to think 20 years from now. Where is Charlotte going to be? Where do we want it to be and how do we back our way into thinking how we get there?”
The $119 million street car project dominated a significant part of the day’s talks.
Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta addressed the group and told them “Atlanta is where it is because people made tough decisions.” He says he came to share lessons with Charlotte “as you all go through some of the issues that look and feel a lot alike.”
Mayor Reed says “you are dealing with some issues around street car and we are building a $100 million street car in Atlanta. You are dealing with issues around stadium facility and we’re working through some of those issues right now.”
According to Mayor Reed, the Atlanta Falcons have asked for help building a new stadium. In a deal that is still being worked out, the Mayor says the Falcons will pay $860 million. The city of Atlanta will kick in $200 million through hotel and motel tax. If an agreement is reached, the deal will keep the Falcons in Atlanta for 30 years.
Mayor Reed says “no mayor or city council have played the stadium game and won.” He says a city without an NFL team will likely languish.
Mayor Foxx says he’s concerned about “poachers”. He says there are cities that are building stadiums but don’t have NFL teams.
In other reports delivered during the retreat, Council members and the Mayor heard that fiscal year 2013′s budget is doing “okay”. Revenues are projected at $0.4 million above budget and expenditures at $2.9 million below budget.
In June a 2-year budget cycle will be adopted. For fiscal year 2014, a report says sales tax revenue will likely see a 3.5% growth. And property tax should have 1% growth. City officials say there is some uncertainty because of the county’s revaluation problems. According to the city’s finance department, about $10 billion worth of property is still under review – that’s an estimated $100 million the city is missing because of Mecklenburg County’s troubled revaluation.
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