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Taxpayers association says SoccerCity has bigger tax benefit to city

Discussion in 'Soccer' started by RaiderRay, Jul 12, 2018 at 11:35 AM.

  1. RaiderRay

    RaiderRay RIP SD Chargers..Go Any SD Team, Go Raiders Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

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    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...ent/sd-fi-taxpayers-assoc-20180710-story.html

    Initiatives to redevelop the former home of the San Diego Chargers would net the city more money than it is getting now, with one of the measures expected to deliver a greater return than the other, said a report released Thursday.

    An independent analysis by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association said annual tax revenues from SoccerCity, if it wins in November, would be $4 million. Its rival initiative, SDSU West, would bring in about $1.9 million.

    The numbers were based on sales, hotel, property and possessory interest taxes. It said over 99 years, SDSU West would net $188.1 million for the city and $396 million from SoccerCity.

    The association said both initiatives would be a net positive for the city’s coffers, which is losing millions of dollars each year on the stadium property.

    “Our job is to lay out the facts,” said Haney Hong, CEO of the association. “We have no position on either side.”

    The taxpayer group has been around for seven decades and often holds educational meetings and creates reports analyzing big public policy issues. It spent roughly four months on the nearly 200-page report, giving both sides the opportunity to respond to questions.

    It can be viewed online at its website, sdcta.org.

    SDSU West and SoccerCity each seek to redevelop the city’s stadium site with housing, commercial projects and a public park along the San Diego River.

    SDSU West calls for constructing a 35,000-seat stadium, primarily for the Aztecs football team. SoccerCity proposes a 23,500-seat professional soccer stadium that could be enlarged for Aztecs football games.

    The group backing SDSU West, Friends of SDSU West, said the taxpayer group’s report fails to take into account the power of higher education to grow the economy.

    “The SDSU West Initiative will produce more local college graduates to cultivate businesses, increase jobs and pay taxes for many generations to come,” it said in a statement.

    SoccerCity project manager Nick Stone said the report showed it had a leg up on the competition.

    "This analysis clearly shows that SoccerCity provides greater benefit to the taxpayers than the other measure,” he said. “Not only will SoccerCity generate more tax revenue for city services, we will pay fair market value for the property while not asking taxpayers for a dime of their money."

    Hong said he expected both sides to criticize the report, but the association’s job is to provide voters with the facts. Also, the report contains all written communication between the association and initiative backers so voters can read about the entire process online.

    Economic impact of the two measures is lopsided because no economic impact study has been done for SDSU West. But, for comparison, the association used a report from consulting firm ICF on the university’s economic impact for comparison. The association used an economic study on SoccerCity by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and engineering firm AECOM.

    What they found:

    • SoccerCity: Construction will result in an estimated 37,000 jobs, $2.3 billion in wages and $3.4 billion added to the city’s gross regional product. Operations will result in an estimated 22,600 jobs generating $1.8 billion in wages. The taxpayers association said there was nothing in the initiative that would stop SDSU from leasing developments on the SoccerCity property for academic needs.
    • SDSU West estimates that the addition of 6,000 students, made possible through the initiative, would result in a $239 million impact by 2033. The ICF study said that individuals with a bachelor’s degree can earn almost $1 million more over the course of their careers than people with only a high school education. Backers of SDSU West point to an economic study put out by the university that said its annual economic impact on the region is $5.67 billion.
    SoccerCity investors have agreed to honor an independent appraisal by the city, which values the stadium land at $82.8 million and Murphy Canyon at $27.3 million. SDSU West will pay the fair market value of the land as determined by the City Council and the value must be calculated as of Oct. 9, 2017 (the notice date of the initiative).

    SDSU West’s initiative does not include Murphy Canyon, which backers said gives the city the opportunity to sell or use it for something else.

    Related: Dueling stadium initiatives can go on November ballot, judges say

    An advantage the association saw with the SoccerCity proposal, over SDSU West, is it would not be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. However, supporters of SDSU West have used that to say SoccerCity is skirting environmental law. But SoccerCity argues it has done extensive environmental reports on its own, which SDSU West backers have said is not as high a standard as CEQA.

    The association said there are risks to taxpayers with both initiatives. For SoccerCity, if backers don’t get a Major League Soccer team, it means the property could sit vacant for at least seven years before it reverts back to the city. For SDSU West, it said the unclear length of an environmental review process — required before the sale of the property — could add costs to the city.

    An overarching theme in the association report is that if the city does nothing with the property, it could be very costly. It said the demolition of SDCCU Stadium would be paid for by a winning initiative, saving the city $15 million.

    Also, the association said operations and maintenance of SDCCU Stadium could cost the city up to $20 million a year, along with a recent estimate of around $80 million in deferred maintenance.

    Both initiatives followed a novel approach to dealing with city-owned land. Instead of waiting for the city to create a master plan for the site, they drafted their own planning and legal documents and succeeded in collecting more than the required 71,634 city voter signatures to put their measures on the ballot. This approach allowed them to short-circuit what would have been a lengthy review process.

    The SDSU West initiative proposes the sale of approximately 132 acres of city property to San Diego State University or an SDSU auxiliary organization for development purposes.

    The SoccerCity initiative proposes a 99-year lease to a group of developers of approximately 233 acres of city property — the stadium site plus adjacent land and non-contiguous property in Murphy Canyon.

    If both get more than the 50 percent of voter support required for approval in November, the measure that gets the most votes will prevail. If neither proposal gets 50 percent, city officials say they will start from scratch on plans for the area.
     

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