Blog: Rybak probably doesnt have stadium votes

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December 8, 2011
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter
Today, Mayor R.T. Rybak gave the Minneapolis City Council his first formal presentation of his plans to build a Vikings stadium on the site of the Metrodome.

Rybak is proposing using city sales tax revenue that currently pays for Convention Center debt. When debt payments end for the Convention Center in 2020, the money would begin to fund the Vikings stadium. I’ll have more details about funding in the print edition, but the basic idea here is that city sales tax would contribute $300 million to the project over the next 30 years.

Rybak said the deal would have to include $100 million to take the Target Center off the city’s hands, relieving property taxpayers of roughly $5 million per year in debt payments.

Based on comments from today, Facebook posts, Tweets and previous interviews, Rybak, it appears, does not currently have the votes necessary to direct sales tax to a Vikings stadium.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. Remember, the City Council has 13 members. I believe Rybak would need seven votes.

   Lisa Goodman and Betsy Hodges were very clear today that they do not support public subsidies for the stadium.

   Elizabeth Glidden e-mailed me after today’s meeting and said she doesn’t support any public funding for stadiums, including gaming revenue.

   Robert Lilligren Tweeted to me “I don't support public $ for a stadium. Gaming either”

   Gary Schiff said he liked the idea of getting the Target Center off taxpayers’ backs, but he made comments both at the meeting and on Facebook that were anti-public subsidies. You can read for yourself here: facebook.com/#!/garyschiff

   Sandy Colvin Roy said the Vikings are a statewide asset and should be funded by the whole state. She said she was “skeptical” of city investment in a Vikings stadium, citing the poor outcome of the city buying Target Center.

    Cam Gordon said if public money is to be used for a stadium, it should go to a referendum. That means he probably wouldn’t vote with Rybak because doing so would circumvent a referendum.

That alone is seven votes against Rybak’s stadium proposal. We didn’t hear today from council members Don Samuels, Kevin Reich, John Quincy and Meg Tuthill.

Tuthill made some comments to me in an interview a few weeks ago saying she would have to see a specific proposal. She did, however, make some comments about how much the Metrodome helps businesses in the city on game day.

Barb Johnson is working with Rybak on the proposal, so she’s a definite supporter.

Diane Hofstede didn’t make clear her position in brief comments today.

The one caveat I would point out is that votes can change. Perhaps some sweeteners could be thrown into the deal that might switch a council member or two.