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City to charge 50 cents on 2012 Tacoma Rainiers tickets

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Aug. 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm with 6 Comments »
August 2, 2011 12:22 pm

A long-planned 50 cent fee on tickets to Tacoma Rainiers games will start hitting fans in the 2012 season, a year after the renovated Cheney Stadium opened for baseball.

After City Council members questioned why it wasn’t in effect for the 2011 season, city officials notified the Rainiers Saturday it would charge the so-called facility fee starting in 2012 for baseball games — and starting Monday for other ticketed events.

Proceeds will go first to helping pay off the $30 million the city borrowed to renovate the stadium. Once debt payments are covered each year, leftover proceeds will be returned to the team for future maintenance.

“I wish they had done it last year, because it would have been good to have been collecting that fee,” said Councilman Marty Campbell. “I am happy to see that it is in place now and those who are enjoying the stadium are the ones that are paying for the stadium.”

Campbell said he had thought the fee was already being charged. The Rainiers and the city had agreed in the lease the city may impose a fee of up to 50 cents — but city staff decided it wouldn’t be needed in the first year, based on advice from the Rainiers that taxes and other city revenue from the stadium should be enough to cover the scheduled bond repayment.

“Early indications were, those possibly were going to exceed their expectations,” city Finance Director Bob Biles said. “There was a feeling that based on that, let’s wait and see.”

Instead, the latest projections show revenue falling $35,542 short of covering the repayment. With no fee to cover that gap, the city will reach into another pot — interest earned on money for the project. The borrowed money was invested during construction and earned interest.

A team spokeswoman said Rainiers President Aaron Artman is out of town this week and not available to talk about the decision last year or the effects of the fee next year. He hadn’t yet seen the city’s notification about next year’s fee, spokeswoman Alyson Jones said.

The gap next year is expected to be more than $72,000, which will be covered by the new facilities fee. The city has estimated it would raise $220,000 a year from the fee, with most going back to the team for maintenance.

At a council meeting last month, Councilman Jake Fey inquired if the facilities fee was being charged. Not yet, City Manager Rey Arellano told him.

“We have an obligation to the public to be able to pay off those bonds,” Fey said.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Why only 50 cent hike in the price? Why not make it 5,00 per ticket and test the loyalty of the Rainers fans?It seems as if there is a somehow a shortage of funds,for any project,the citizens will always get the bill.Then there is the explanation of Cost Overuns being involved.

  2. TheMASO says:

    The price was increased two years in a row to pay for the ball park renovation. This extra $.50 got to cover the unauthorized contract modifications and the $850K plus extra billing the city council received; yes, the mayor said no problem just pay it. Amazing!!! The fans will pay–I think not. Instead of going to a dozen games a year I now will only attend 10. Another retiree suffers due to a city managed by a bunch of misfits!!!

  3. truthbusterguy says:

    Does the state tax the tickets too? Is so, I will no longer attend the games.

  4. I went to check out the new stadium on July 1st. I was very impressed when comparing the new stadium to the old one. After the game we attempted to leave the parking lot. This “free for all” ruined the entire night. After being unable to move at all for the first 35 minutes we slowly crept towards the exit, only to find that some idiot had parked in one lane of the exit. I blame the ball club for not monitoring the egress points…..I won’t be back.

  5. tacoman1 says:

    Why is the city taking orders from a private business on how to collect our fees. Wake up city staff and please council members demand more of city employees. if they are not up to the job , let them go. City staff has made a fiasco of the stadium. If the fee can be inpossed starting monday on tickets sold to other events why not start asap with the rainiers. Something and someone is involved with graff. Lets start with the retired Mr. Combs and whoever decided to listen to the rainiers and not charge a cent for a legitamate fee.

  6. COJones says:

    How about we charge all city, county and state officials $5 a day when they can’t prove they drive a vehicle that gets over 30 mpg (city) to work? Hell, we overpay them enough so they can afford it.

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