Rybak looking to City Council for sign of stadium support

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February 27, 2012 // UPDATED 10:39 am - March 2, 2012
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter
Before the Minnesota Legislature adopts a plan to build a Minnesota Vikings stadium in Minneapolis, Mayor R.T. Rybak says his City Council will need to show the state, in some form, that it is a willing partner.

“While the city doesn’t have to act before the Legislature, it’s clear to me that we need to demonstrate our support and so we’re exploring ways to get that done,” Rybak said in a conference call this morning.

That support could be in the form of a non-binding resolution to be voted on by the city’s 13 council members. The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for March 8.

Gov. Mark Dayton said yesterday he wants both the Minnesota House and Senate to take votes on the stadium deal during the 2012 Legislative Session, which is scheduled to end May 21.

At least seven of 13 City Council members have said publicly that they oppose public subsidies for a Vikings stadium. But until yesterday, they hadn’t seen the actual plan.

The City Charter requires that any expenditure of over $10 million for a sports stadium go to a public referendum. But the stadium bill in the Legislature would give the City Council a chance to bypass that referendum.

Rybak said final stadium deal would first be voted on by the Legislature and then adopted by the City Council. This morning, he reiterated that any deal would include the freeing up of existing sales taxes to fund Target Center renovations and debt payments, allowing him to lower the property tax levy by 2 percent.

“There is absolutely no scenario whatsoever in which in we will approve the Vikings piece unless the Target Center solution is possible,” he said.