Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Much Is the Stadium Going to Cost Each Taxpayer?

UPDATE: The resistance movement is in full swing. Join us, get updates and details at

With all the talk of the publicly-funded baseball stadium, there's typically not much attention paid to how much it's going to cost each Wilmingtonian.

Bill Saffo has been quoted as saying it will be $35 - 40M. I think that's a low ball, no pun intended. NHC County manager Bruce Shell has said it is estimated at $42M. Let's use that.

There are costs in addition to construction.

There's interest on the debt. The total cost of the convention center was about $60M, and total interest on the debt will be over $50M. Just this year, we paid $2.5M in interest on the convention center debt.

Let's be generous and give the stadium a lower interest rate than the convention center, and say it will accumulate $30M in interest on its debt.

There are also operational costs. It costs us $3M per year just to run the convention center. How much will it cost to run a baseball stadium? Again, let's be very generous and assume $1M.

Of course, these operational costs go on forever, but let's just assume they go on for only 30 years.

How much will everything cost the people of Wilmington?:

$42M in construction + $30M in interest + $30M in operational costs = $102M.

Total number of people in Wilmington? About 107,000.

This means a cost of $953 to every person living in Wilmington when everything is said and done.

Of course, not every person in Wilmington is a property tax payer, which is where the city gets its overwhelming majority of revenue. So, people paying property tax are going to get slammed. Of course, even if you're renting you indirectly pay property tax because the cost to the owner will go up.

Now, let's see what the bare minimum cost just for construction would be:

$42M/107k = $393/person.

Again, that isn't even including necessary costs such as interest or operational costs.

Is that the kind of money you want to pay? For some people that's nearly a rent check.

Everybody needs to go to and go to the protest Saturday, Feb. 18th at noon behind the convention center to sign this petition that can actually change the law in Wilmington.


  1. Please let's not forget that this stadium will be direct competition to the illustrious convention center. Concert @ the stadium or convention center? Maybe with some slick marketing, they can convince people attending functions at the stadium to bring sleeping bags and camp out @ the convention center. Say, $15.00 per night? This might pay for the convention center before the end of the world.

  2. What if city officials came to your door and said there was going to be an event and you were required to pay $100.00 whether you planned to attend or not? Even those planning on attending would not like being told this. The people not planning on attending would really be angry. There is no difference in this, and tax payer funded sports complexes. Everyone is required to pay whether you plan on using it or not. This has become standard operating procedure for Wilmington's City Government along with other governments all over this country.

    Want to get people irate, then talk about welfare. What the city is proposing is worse than any welfare fraud you have ever heard about. Why, because this is corporate welfare. Multimillion/billion dollar corporations getting stadiums built by taxpayer funds, getting tax reductions or no taxes charged, incentives, etc. The majority of the people that will have to pay for this, will never attend a function at this complex. Why not require the people/corporations that want and will benefit from these projects pay for them without tax breaks and incentives? It is called a business plan, and if it doesn't make sense for private enterprise, then it doesn't make sense for a government (taxpayers) to fund.

    The city officials in Wilmington are extremely near sighted. They just had to build the convention center, no matter what the cost or profitability. Other cities have one, Wilmington must have one also. Studies showed that many of these convention centers in other cities were not showing a profit. It was built anyway, and it is not coming close to breaking even. Fast forward to today, now the city wants to build a baseball stadium/complex that will compete against the convention center for events? Is the plan to make sure neither one ever becomes profitable?

    Wilmington has baseball options for its citizens. We have youth baseball, UNCW baseball, and the Wilmington Sharks. All options that will not cost the taxpayers millions of extra dollars. Will another option hurt attendance for these teams? Will the Sharks be kicked to the curb for this new option?

    Another consideration, if this is built, what will become of Legion Stadium? If my memory serves me correctly, a lot of money has been spent to upgrade this complex. What will become of this stadium? Will it become another shrine to the city government's zeal to waste money as it sits empty or vastly under utilized?

    Look to Lynchburg, Va. to see why this is a bad idea. This is where the team resides that will be moved to Wilmington if this deal is completed. Their stadium will sit empty after this desertion, and if the Atlanta Braves will do it to Lynchburg, do not think they will hesitate for one second to do it to Wilmington when a better deal comes along. This is another reason public funds should never be used for private enterprise. Make these corporations have a vested, monetary interest in making these projects work. The way it works now is they are a bunch of freeloaders, waiting for someone offering more and better free stuff. When this happens, they skip out of town singing Willie Nelson's “On the Road Again”. This should be a consideration before forcing people to spend millions of dollars for something a lot of them will never see any benefit from.

    Last consideration, will alcoholic beverages be served during ballgames? If they will be served, this will diminish the family atmosphere. If they are not served, this will reduce attendance. A double edged sword without an answer when the goal is maximum attendance.


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