If you have been reading the action of the Racine City Council recently, it appears the arena/event center is full steam ahead.
Even though Mayor-elect Cory Mason repeatedly stated during the campaign that he was against the event center and that he would veto the proposal, it doesn’t appear that matters.
Interim Mayor Dennis Wiser has made that clear, indicating that there are enough votes to override any mayoral veto.
If Mason — who was elected by the people of Racine — cannot convince them to change their minds, it’s unlikely this Editorial Board could convince them either.
Instead of trying to convince aldermen, we’ll simply remind them of what they promised the public back in June. That is when they approved a resolution that outlined conditions that needed to be met for the event center to move forward.
The resolution conditions were as follows:
Developing an agreement with a private-sector developer to build a hotel.
Development of a new tax increment district for the hotel.
Development of an agreement that stipulates the city and Real Racine can use 100 percent of the hotel occupancy taxes to pay off event center debt.
Solicitation and development of a naming rights partner.
A tenant agreement with a United States Hockey League team.
A capital improvement plan detailing the impacts of diverting intergovernmental shared revenue funds to paying off the event center debt.
An agreement to secure roughly $365,000 annually from outside sources, be that governmental, private or otherwise.
The immediate creation and staffing of an advisory committee to the mayor.
The city create a citywide master capital plan that addresses other capital projects and bonding.
Any debt repayment sources that exceed estimates be used to alleviate the tax impact on citizens.
The city has been moving forward on some of these, such as the mayoral advisory committee, which has been meeting regularly. The city also has outlined a full capital improvement plan that included the impact of the event center.
But those are minor in comparison to the need to secure outside funding, as well as a business paying for naming rights. City taxpayers shouldn’t be the only ones on the hook for this.
The public voted Mason in with the understanding he intended to stop the event center initiative. Aldermen should take that seriously.
At the bare minimum, they should remember what they voted for in June in creating those 10 criteria. They should not backtrack.