Reno City Council approves $30 million for Aces ballpark loan

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 11/08/2012 1:24 am

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The Reno City Council voted Tuesday night to give $30 million towards the loan for the Aces ballpark over the next three decades.

That’s roughly one million dollars every year in a refinancing deal. It passed with a 4-3 vote and not everyone is happy about it.

“So really what it comes down to is a bailout,” said Reno City Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza. “Do we want to bail out a wealthy developer?”

Sferrazza is one of three who voted against the deal.

Councilman Dave Aiazzi says after casino property taxes were reduced in the wake of the recession, redevelopment funds that were slated to help pay the owners of the Aces dried up and the team owners weren't left with many options.

“It hasn't panned out for them and they had to make a business decision to either get that money here or move the team elsewhere,” Aiazzi said.

But the economy hasn't just been rough for the developers and casinos.

“With how many layoffs we've had the city's strapped,” Sferrazza said. “We can't afford to do this.”

Aiazzi says we can't afford not to do it.

“There's only 16 AAA teams in the whole country and I think it's important for the city of Reno to have one of those now that it's here, and also I look at if they move what do we do with the stadium,” he said.

A study from the University of Nevada, Reno found the Aces bring in about $21 million a year to the local economy - but some council members were concerned that the money to cover this new debt will come from the general fund

“The general fund pays for public safety, parks all of our city services,” Sferrazza said.

But there could be another option. An item on Tuesday night’s agenda could help foot the bill - the waste management franchise agreement.

“That's going to bring in over a million dollars a year more to the city starting in January,” Aiazzi said. 

The city's share won't cover the full $55 million loan, so the developers will also be asking for $500 thousand a year from Washoe County for the next thirty years.

Aiazzi also says they're considering selling the naming rights to the stadium as well to make up the difference.

Aces representatives are expected to go to the next city council meeting to personally commit to paying it back the funds and staying in Reno until at least 2042.

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