- The Braves put up between $230 million and $280 million in cash (no explanation of why this may vary), plus pledge to pay the county $6.1 million a year from rent, naming rights revenue, parking revenue, and ad board revenue, enough to pay off another $92 million in construction bonds. Total team contribution: between $322 million and $372 million.
- Cobb County puts up $24 million in cash, plus another $17.9 million cobbled together mostly from existing property tax revenues and new property and hotel tax surcharges in the stadium district, enough to pay off another $276 million in construction bonds. Total taxpayer contribution: $300 million.
This, obviously, would be somewhat better than the original $450 million public/$200 million private split that was first reported on Monday. It’s still a hefty chunk of change, though — $300 million doesn’t grow on trees, as Cobb County schoolteachers can tell you — and even going halfsies on a project where 100% of the revenues (after paying off the stadium) are going to the private tenant isn’t much to write home about.
That’s what we know. Meanwhile, there’s a bunch that isn’t mentioned in the Cobb County document posted by the AJC:
- Is this everything? The document says the $672 million price tag covers “stadium, parking and related infrastructure,” but it’s unclear whether that includes, say, the massive highway upgrades that are going to be necessary to get 40,000 Braves fans on and off the adjacent interstate highways. The Braves owners have promised to pay for cost overruns on the stadium, but not on infrastructure.
- What if the tax receipts fall short? Presumably the projected tax revenues are based on expectations of property values and hotel development in the stadium district. That district, though, is about to be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to attracting (or maintaining) businesses: those newly instituted property and hotel tax surcharges. Normally I’d say that the fear of business being driven out of town by high taxes is overblown — they’re a small share of costs — but when the choice is of opening a hotel in an area where you’ll have to pay an extra $3 per room per night in taxes and opening one literally across the street, there has to be at least some concern that tax revenues will fall short. Right now, we don’t have a clue what the backup revenue source is if this happens, except that it doesn’t appear to be the Braves.
- What about taxes? This is a huge one: As we’ve seen before, the value of tax breaks can add up quickly. The county summary doesn’t give any indication whether the Braves stadium (or the planned development around it) would pay its usual share of property taxes; if not, then that’s an additional taxpayer-provided gift to the team that it could use to pay off that 55% share.
So: The Cobb County stadium plan still looks pretty bad for taxpayers, though not as bad as a couple of days ago, but it still could be just as bad depending on what we haven’t been told so far. The AJC is promising more details “later today”; we’ll see if they answer any of the above questions and help us give this a score on the cromulent-to-craptacular scale.
UPDATE: Thanks to Deadspin for pointing out one more takeaway from today’s stadium finance laundry list: “Because there are no new taxes here outside of the self-taxing CID, the County Commission can approve the proposal without a countywide referendum. Cobb County residents will cover nearly half of the Braves’ ballpark without getting to vote on it.“