Amarillo, TX - Even though the November election is next Tuesday, many questions remain about how the proposed ballpark in downtown Amarillo will be funded.
The ballpark has created tension among some who would rather see a new Civic Center instead.
"We've taken $50 to $60 million away from the Civic Center. Now we're going to take away another $300,000 to $400,000 away form the Civic Center," said David Kossey, a spokesperson for Amarillo Citizens for Tomorrow. "Are they really concerned about the Civic Center in the future or are they just trying to make it tougher on the taxpayers in the future? because that's what it's going to do."
The Civic Center funds would be at stake if the city cannot generate enough revenue to payback a $2.7 million bond payment each year for the next 28 years.
Here is where the revenue is expected to come from:
Hotel occupancy tax will cover $1.5 million.
Civic Center revenue will cover $400,000
The new embassy suites hotel will pay $120,000 annually for parking spots in the garage.
The remaining balance needed to make the payment is set to come from the parking garage and the MPEV. Right now, any revenue generated from both is no guarantee.
The current financial plan estimates the parking garage will bring in $425,000.
"The revenue of $425,000 has assumptions that we do have an MPEV built, that we no longer have a city hall parking lot and that we have paid on-street parking in the general vicinity," said Amarillo Assistant City Manager Michelle Bonner.
The plan also estimates the MPEV will bring in $250,000 annually.
"That revenue could be in the form of a lease payment, in the form of naming rights or it could even be in the form of a facility fee or ticket surcharge," said Bonner.
Vote FOR Amarillo, an organization promoting the ballpark, said 14 companies have pledged to purchase corporate suites and 450 people have pledged to buy season tickets, which could help cover that cost.
But what happens if the revenue estimates for the parking garage and the MPEV fall short?
"If we needed additional dollars to fund this, the city has a piece of the hotel occupancy tax and the so does the Convention and Visitors Council," said Bonner. "So, we would revisit with our city council about how those dollars would be allocated, but it would come from hotel occupancy tax."
This means hotel occupancy tax for the Civic Center would most likely go toward paying off debt instead. City officials still say no taxpayer dollars will ever go toward the annual bond payment, only hotel occupancy tax.