SHOW ME THE MONEY
Financing the Project
Early on in the project, the Council met in several executive sessions to discuss land acquisition and economic develop strategies. Council discussed various ways to pay for the City’s portion of the public/private partnership deciding that the Council would not support a financing plan in which property taxes were used to pay off the debt on this project. The Council was willing to ask the voters to create a Type A Corporation that would have the authority to collect ½ cent per dollar sales tax throughout the City to pay for this venture.
The City asked their financial advisor, First Southwest, to give them a financial analysis to see if it was feasible to use a Type A Corporation sales tax to fund the stadium portion of the project. First Southwest was also asked to analyze the private development feasibility for our private partners to determine the viability of the retail/entertainment aspects of the project. New Era and partners are currently reviewing this analysis as they plan for development if the citizens vote to do the project. Southwest’s Financing Analysis
Around the same time, Barron-Stark-Swift with Council’s permission, hired Johnson Consultants to perform an analysis of a potential market for minor league baseball in Cleburne and to determine the appropriate size of a stadium. Johnson has extensive experience in market analysis for minor league baseball. Economic Impact Analysis
The City Council reviewed the financial plan and strategy. In addition, the entire Council reiterated that they would not approve this project without the Type A Corporation creation (i.e., sales tax) and would never fund this project with property tax dollars.
At the Regular Council meeting on August 11th, the City Council called for an election on November 3, 2015 to allow the citizens to make a choice on this project and provide the means for funding it. The ballot will have three propositions. The first two propositions will create the Type A Corporation and allow the corporation to collect the ½ cent sales tax. The third proposition will be to ask the voters for permission to borrow 25 million dollars for the baseball stadium, land, parking area and road. The 25 million dollar debt would be paid with the sales tax created by the Type A Corporation.
All three measures must pass for this project to proceed as planned.
The ballot language, approved by the Texas Attorney General, is as follows:
Proposition No. 1
“The adoption of a sales and use tax for the promotion and development of new and expanded business enterprises at the rate of one-half of one percent.”
Proposition No. 2
“Authorize the Cleburne Economic Development Corporation to use the one-half of one percent sales and use tax levied for its benefit for a professional league baseball stadium and related infrastructure, as defined in Section 334.001, Texas Local Government Code, and including the maintenance and operating costs of such project.”
Proposition No. 3
“The issuance of $25,000,000 general obligation bonds for promoting economic development within the City by designing and constructing a professional league baseball stadium generally located at the southeast corner of US Highway 67 and Nolan River Road including the acquisition of land therefore, and including concessions, parking facilities, road, street, water, sewer or park facilities or other infrastructure facilities located in proximity to the stadium, and through funding the City’s programs for economic development, including the acquisition of land and making loans and grants of bond proceeds and otherwise providing assistance for private commercial, retail and mixed-used development in relation to the stadium and the levying of a tax in payment thereof.”