Does anyone know if other alderman voted against the stadium?

Does anyone know if other alderman voted against the stadium?

Megan Ellyia Green, for President of the Board of Aldermen

Today I voted 'no' on the resolution for a MLS stadium. There is a lot more nuance to these discussions than to simply be “for" or "against" something, which continues to be overlooked.

The question before us today was not whether or not we want an MLS team as a City. If that were the question, I think every person on the Board would have voted "yes."
Rather, the question before us today was "what level of risk is the City willing to assume to procure an MLS team?"

What we laid out today was what we think is our best negotiating position for procuring a team. When voters voted down the last soccer stadium they told us that we could do better. While this deal is better than what went before voters, I still do not believe that it is the best that we can do to protect the financial position of the City. When negotiating these deals we must start with our strongest position, as inevitability as negotiations continue our position will be weakened.

This deal that is proposed by the ownership group is very similar to the MLS stadium in Minneapolis. The major difference is who has ownership of the stadium. In Minneapolis the ownership group has ownership of the stadium. In this deal, the City of St. Louis would be the owner, and assume associated long-term financial risks.

First, the financials for the this MLS deal cite two expansions of the stadium in the next 15 years without detailing who is responsible for paying for those expansions. More than likely, this will lead to the ownership group seeking bonds or other financing from the City to pay for these expansions, putting us in a similar position that we are with the Scottrade Center.

After the Board passed the bonds for the Scottrade Center, our credit rating as a City was downgraded because of using bonds to pay for "non essentials." This makes it more expensive for us to borrow money as a City. At the date of the proposed expansions we will still be paying for the bonds on the Scottrade (now Enterprise) Center.

Second, both the Wall Street Journal and Forbes have recently ran articles questioning the financial health of the MLS. If MLS goes under or the team decides to leave, then the City will be left with a vacant stadium, much like we are with the Dome right now. To make this stadium into a different use will inevitably require public money. The fund for future demolition of the Stadium will not have the funding in it to demo the stadium should the stadium cease to be of use before 30 years. We are in year 10 of economic expansion. A recession will be looming, which decreases discretionary household funds for extras like sports. This should make us exercise more caution toward a sports model that is already not showing profitability.

The stadium is projected to net $1.4 million in revenue to the City per year. Historically, in St. Louis, with the exception of the Cardinals that have many more games than soccer or football, the stadiums have failed to meet the financial projections. It is the failure of City government to look 15-20-30 years into the future that has forced us into the financial position that we are in today as a City.

I do not think that the risk of us owning the stadium is worth the reward of possibly netting $1.4 million per year. I do not think that we are going to the table with the MLS with the best deal for taxpayers. We have the opportunity to not repeat the mistakes of the past. St. Louis owning the stadium is setting us down the same path we have been down before that has not worked out well for us.

I support MLS. I also support ensuring that the City is on the best financial footing both today, and in 30 years.
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