Cobb County in Georgia Paying $300M for a New Braves Stadium

by Greg Pollowitz

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Cobb County government will spend $300 million on a new Atlanta Braves stadium and mixed use development near the interstates 75 and 285, according to a summary of the financial agreement released Thursday morning.

All told, the development will cost $672 million, with the Braves covering the rest of the costs.

The release says the team, county and Cobb-Marietta Coliseum Authority, which will own the ballpark, are still finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding, which will be the legal document guiding the partnership.

But a summary of details of the MOU show that the county will pay:

  • $276 million from the coliseum authority, which will issue 30-year revenue bonds to fund the county’s share.
  • $14 million from the county for transportation improvements.
  • $10 million from the Cumberland Community Improvement District.

Existing property taxes will account for $8.7 million of the county’s contribution. The release says there will be no increase in property tax millage rates for homeowners.

However, there are new taxes, including: a new 3-percent rental car tax; a new 3-mill property tax increase for businesses in a Cumberland Special Services District; a new $3 per night charge for hotel rooms in the special services district.

Good luck with this one, taxpayers. The rest here.

And here’s a good op-ed by Atlanta’s mayor, Kasim Reed, defending his decision to let the Braves move 12 miles north. An excerpt:

For 18 months, my administration has been involved in good-faith discussions to keep the Braves in downtown Atlanta as their lease at Turner Field nears expiration. On Monday, the Atlanta Braves organization announced its intention to relocate to Cobb County – in a new stadium. Our partners in Cobb County will provide $450 million in public funding to build the new $672 million stadium, we’re told. We are simply unwilling to match that with taxpayer dollars.

On my inauguration into office in January 2010, I made a promise to strengthen our city’s finances and tackle our looming $922 million infrastructure backlog. Over the last four years, we have balanced four consecutive budgets without property tax increases, built our cash reserves to more than $125 million and improved our bond ratings across the spectrum in every fund.

Over the next four years, I am committed to making $200 million to $250 million in infrastructure investments in our neighborhoods.

Professional sports teams and stadiums drive economic development and investment in their communities, but taxpayer dollars need to be spent responsibly. My decision not to invest $150 million to $250 million for renovations to Turner Field or interfere with a transaction when the Atlanta Braves are moving 12 miles away means that Atlanta is going to be stronger financially and not choked by debt. This decision also means critical investments in our city’s infrastructure — on bridges, green spaces, roads and traffic lights.

Fiscal responsibility — what a concept. 

Right Field

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