One of the big unknowns in F.C. Cincinnati‘s plans for a soccer stadium on the site of a high school football stadium in the city’s West End has been how much the team would pay in property taxes to the local school district. We finally have a figure, and West End leaders are not at all happy with the offer:
Under the deal revealed Monday evening, FC Cincinnati would:
• Pay $100,000 a year in property taxes during construction.
• Pay $250,000 a year in property taxes the next five years, from 2021-2026.
• Pay $500,000 a year in property taxes the five years after that, from 2027-2031.
• Pay an amount, up to $3.6 million, based on team profits.
But school officials calculate that, if FC Cincinnati builds a $250 million stadium as expected, the club should under typical guidelines pay CPS more than $2 million a year in taxes.
And this is actually the second deal FC Cincinnati offered the school district. The district rejected the first, a $70,000-a-year offer, telling FC Cincinnati it was “very disappointed.” The team came back with the current $100,000 a year, but the school district still seems unsatisfied.
“There’s not a magic number, per se, but there’s a wide gap between $70,000 and $2.8 million,” said CPS spokeswoman Lauren Worley.
That there is! Excellent powers of subtraction on display there!
The philosophical gap here is equally easy to see: F.C. Cincinnati’s owners are saying, Hey, you’re not getting much tax money from the land now, at least this is more than that, while Cincinnati school district leaders are saying, Uh, dudes, you don’t get to be taxed on your $250 million stadium as if it were vacant land. Team owners are also citing the $20 million “investment” it plans to make in the school district, most of which consists of building a new high school football stadium to replace the one they’d be tearing down, so yeah, not a huge net gain there.
F.C. Cincinnati president Jeff Berding also said yesterday that the team’s owners will be making a decision by the end of the month on whether to put the stadium in the West End, in the Oakley neighborhood, or across the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky. Since the school board has to approve the West End deal, it doesn’t sound super-likely that that’s going to happen, but you can still do a lot of haggling in 18 days.