With all the focus on just how much of a bath the city of Glendale would take if it were to hand over $15 million a year to the Phoenix Coyotes as part of a new lease — and yes, it’s worth pointing out for anyone just tuning in, this is the rare kind of lease where your landlord pays you to rent space — there’s been less attention to where exactly tiny Glendale is getting the money for all this. Fortunately, today’s Globe and Mail has some answers:
Buried on the agenda of Tuesday’s council meeting is an emergency measure to secure a lease-purchase agreement for a maximum of $30-million on Glendale’s City Hall Complex.
It is essentially the same as mortgaging the family home to pay your debts, which in this case is the $50-million the previous Glendale council agreed to pay the NHL in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, to cover part of the Coyotes’ losses and operate Jobing.com Arena.
Glendale, it turns out, has already depleted its landfill fund ($21 million), sanitation fund ($4 million), and water and sewer fund ($15 million) to pay off past Coyotes subsidies. So to replenish those and raise even more money, the city is now looking at selling City Hall and leasing it back, which will earn it absolutely nothing in the long run, but will get it some quick cash now in exchange for lease payments later.
And that’s all just past Coyotes subsidies — the new $15 million a year would have to paid off with some other pot of money, as yet to be determined. That’s something that the Glendale council is going to have to weigh against the news that the ice machines in Seattle are still working.
Reminder: There’s a public hearing — yes, finally public — set for tonight at 7 pm, at which the arena lease will be discussed, with actual details hopefully revealed. Glendale doesn’t seem to be able to afford a webcam, so those of us not within driving distance of the soon-to-be-sold Glendale City Hall will just have to await press reports of the action.
[UPDATE: @TravisWaldron of ThinkProgress notes that Glendale floated a remarkably similar City Hall sale idea for the Coyotes last year.]