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December 09, 2011
Minneapolis council opposed to Rybak's Vikings plan
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's plan for financing a Minnesota Vikings stadium with tax money that currently goes to pay off the city's convention center may have gotten a good reception in the state capital, but unfortunately it turns out his own city council pretty much hates it. "I just think that's crazy," said councilmember Lisa Goodman, while her colleague Gary Schiff declared, "We can't take away the money needed to maintain the convention center in 20 years and start applying that to a new facility. Otherwise we just start cannibalizing our own city infrastructure."
Rybak also provided more details of his plan yesterday, which now goes like this:
- Take $20 million in receipts from sales, restaurant, and hotel taxes that is currently collected in excess of what's needed to pay off the convention center debt, and funnel between $4 million and $11 million a year towards a Vikings stadium (enough to pay off roughly $60-150 million in up-front construction cost).
- Take another $5 million a year and use it to pay off debt on the purchase of the Timberwolves' Target Center, which was originally privately built but taken off the Wolves' owners' hands in a much-criticized public bailout in 1995. Also, take a few million more and pay for $100 million in upgrades to the Target Center.
According to Minneapolis Public Radio, councilmembers "told Rybak that if Minneapolis has money to spend, it ought to go to schools, or police or some other basic service — not the Vikings." The Downtown Journal counted heads and found a majority of the council already opposed to Rybak's plan, with several additional members still undecided or unaccounted for — though it added that "perhaps some sweeteners could be thrown into the deal that might switch a council member or two." Not that we've seen anything like that before.