The Henderson, Nevada city council voted yesterday on authorizing $60 million in public bonds to pay for a minor-league hockey arena for an affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights, and if you thought they were going to reject it just because the economy is collapsing and hundreds of thousands of people may die, you really must be new to this site:
The Henderson City Council voted 4-1 today to approve $60 million in bonds to finance an arena for the Golden Knights’ new American Hockey League affiliate…
Councilman Dan Stewart suggested waiting six months to see how the economy shapes up before considering adding debt.
“If there is no immediate need for these bonds, why even consider the sale of them at this time?” Stewart said.
Most of the public comment was on his side, with about double the number of commenters opposed to the bonds compared to those in favor.
(I know what you’re probably wondering here: How was there public comment when Nevada is under a lockdown prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people? Maybe they decided to allow city council meetings to resume, and will just start shutting down whichever ones start leading to mass die-offs?)
The new Henderson team would be the relocated San Antonio Rampage AHL team, which the Golden Knights bought in February with the intention of moving them closer to their NHL club. As discussed yesterday, only about $30 million of the bond money is expected to go to arena construction, though it’s not clear whether some of the other “improvements” it would fund are arena-related as well. And the council still has to vote on the arena project itself now that the financing has been approved, though if they voted 4-1 to approve this amid public outcry, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the council suddenly playing hardball when it’s time for the followup vote. I guess at least it’s nice to see that some things are already returning to normal despite the pandemic, though honestly I would have taken “unemployment rates under 20 percent” ahead of this.