The grinding realpolitik of the Vikings stadium debate may take another lurch forward Tuesday afternoon, as the Minneapolis City Council’s Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee plans a test vote.
In recent weeks, Minneapolis Councilmember Sandy Colvin Roy clambered aboard the Vikings bandwagon, but First Ward colleague Kevin Reich sent a more ambiguous letter of support to pro-stadium Gov. Mark Dayton. It’s been left to Mayor R.T. Rybak to explain that this adds up to a bare but solid majority for local stadium consent if state legislators approve.
The resolution presented tonight (below) will serve both as a confirmation and warning shot: confirmation that the latecomers are in, and that the legislature shouldn’t tear a Target Center tax shift out of the bill. That shift, which would replace Target Center’s property tax subsidy with city sales taxes and also fund a renovation, has drawn ire from east metro pols. Earlier Tuesday, a Senate committee discussed, but ultimately didn’t adopt, a plan to include a St. Paul Saints stadium in the Vikings bill. But the Saints could tacitly get into the deal via the bonding bill.
Anyway, here’s the resolution, authored by Council president Barb Johnson, to be discussed tonight:
Adding Repurposing of Convention Center Taxes to support the Convention
Center, Target Center, a new People’s Stadium and General Fund Savings to the City’s Legislative Agenda
WHEREAS, pursuant to a special law enacted in 1986, the State of Minnesota granted the City of Minneapolis the right to impose certain taxes to support the Minneapolis Convention Center including a 0.5% general sales tax; a 2.625% lodging tax and a 3% downtown liquor tax and downtown restaurant tax, (collectively the “Convention Center taxes”); and
WHEREAS, repurposing these taxes to provide the City the authority to use these taxes to fund Target Center debt, operating expenses and capital improvements as well as to continue to fund capital, operating and marketing expenses for the Convention Center offers general fund/property tax relief and the ability to maintain both facilities as first class competitive entertainment and convention venues; and
WHEREAS, a required component of the City’s support of a People’s stadium bill is the ability to make significant capital improvements to Target Center, as well as the ability to use the Convention Center taxes to support Target Center debt service and operating expenses; and
WHEREAS, the proposal for funding a People’s stadium does not involve an override of the 1997 Charter referendum limiting City public financing of sports facilities; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Vikings’ organization is a statewide asset whose direct activities and those of its fans provide important support to the local and regional economy; and
WHEREAS, the People’s stadium will not only be home to the Minnesota Vikings for 10 games per season, it will also host over 600 other events per year, including college and high school sports, inline skating and Dog Days; and
WHEREAS, the City Council on December 29, 2003 adopted a resolution stating that the Metrodome site is the City’s preferred option for a new People’s stadium, because of its accessibility to the state and regional transportation infrastructure, and
WHEREAS, the stadium project will immediately put 7,500 Minnesotans to work, including residents of the City of Minneapolis, particularly those from neighborhoods with higher rates of unemployment and poverty, and underrepresented groups, and will result in $1 billion in new development in the City of Minneapolis.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS:
That the City’s legislative agenda for 2012 and subsequent years be amended to include support for a People’s stadium bill that would provide the following:
1. Repurpose and direct the use of the current state-authorized Convention Center taxes as follows:
a. To the City to be used to fund debt service, capital, operating and marketing expenses of the Convention Center and Target Center, and any other capital projects or economic development purposes; and
b. To a new stadium authority to be used to fund a portion of the capital and operating expenses of a new People’s stadium
2. Maintain the current state-authorized Convention Center taxes for at least as long as needed for the above purposes; and
3. The construction of a new stadium and improvements to Target Center must put Minneapolis residents to work, such that:
a. A percentage of construction contracts equal to or greater than other Minneapolis development projects must be awarded to women and minority owned businesses;
b. The construction workforce must include skilled minority, unskilled minorities and females and that workforce utilization goals must exceed current city goals;
c. The construction workforce must include workers from Minneapolis zip codes that have high rates of poverty and unemployment; and
d. Concessionaires at the new stadium must reflect the ethnic diversity of Minnesota.
4. That the Minnesota Vikings work with neighborhoods surrounding the People’s stadium to mitigate any negative game day impacts so that the stadium is viewed as a neighborhood asset.
Be it Further Resolved that the City’s support for a People’s stadium is dependent upon the concurrent authorizations to permit the use of the state-authorized Convention Center taxes for the Convention Center and Target Center as set forth above, to ensure the economic vitality of all these assets.
Be It Further Resolved that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to Governor Dayton, Senate and House legislative leaders, the stadium bill authors and to the Minneapolis legislative delegation.