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Sen. Ted Gaines leading regional task force

Sacramento Kings arena funding plans a fit for Placer County?

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Sacramento’s vision of regional cooperation – and financing – for a new arena is going to be a tough sell in Placer County, some elected officials are saying. While California’s capital city is reaching out through regionalism to help pay for a new home for the Sacramento Kings that would keep owners the Maloof family from moving the team to Anaheim or another community, the idea of Placer County taxpayers partnering in the financing is being met with resistance. Auburn Mayor Bill Kirby, who prefaced his remarks by saying he couldn’t speak for other City Council members, said he has seen zero interest from Auburnites in providing financial support to the Maloofs, their Sacramento Kings franchise or the city of Sacramento. “If we had a groundswell of interest, I’d look at the numbers but no one is calling me up on spending Auburn funds,” Kirby said. “As far as us contributing, it’s dead in the water. We have our own financial problems and there would be no benefit to us.” Roseville is the closest community to Sacramento and Placer County’s largest city. Roseville Mayor Pauline Roccucci said she attended a gathering May 26, where Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the City Council received a feasibility study presentation from the ICON-Taylor Group on what is envisioned as an entertainment and sports complex preferably in the downtown railyard area and costing an estimated $387 million. “I wish them well and hope their community wants to raise the funds,” Roccucci said. “I don’t think it (Roseville financial support) would be an option. We’re in a down economy and we’re trying to save our own money to pay our own bills.” Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes, who represents the Auburn area, also expressed reservations about support for a Sacramento arena using Placer County funding. Holmes said that his constituents would rather see funding go toward basics such as roads and other infrastructure work within the county. Johnson is touting a world-class facility that will not only help Sacramento hold on to the Kings but, as reported in the study, will bring 4,100 new construction and permanent jobs to the region, $556 million in new spending on construction and $25 million in new annual spending during ongoing operations, and an estimated $775,000 in new government revenue annually. Al Johnson, Roseville Chamber of Commerce president, said that finding funding for any project during a down economic period would be a tough sell for anybody right now. Al Johnson, who has shared Kings season tickets since the team moved to Sacramento in the 1980s, said he likes the idea of bringing together 60 regional leaders for a task force. Kevin Johnson has named state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, to chair the task force. Gaines was unavailable for comment Friday. Any form of regional cooperation is a good thing, Al Johnson said. “But at the end of the day it would have to be something that makes sense for the region,” the former Roseville city manager said. Auburn resident Dan Costello said he wouldn’t be supporting local funding for a new arena in Sacramento. Costello said he could see people attending events at a new arena being taxed on top of their ticket price. But an airport tax or a hotel tax doesn’t make sense, he said. “It should be funded like any other business,” Costello said. “If a company moves in and wants to do business in a community, they should build the building. There are probably already incentives in place. And at the end of the day, a business makes a profit from their building.” Joaquin McPeek, the Sacramento mayor’s press secretary, said the task force’s 60 members would be named by the beginning of the week. The region takes in 22 cities and six counties – Placer, Yolo, San Joaquin, Sutter, Yuba and El Dorado – as well as Sacramento, he said. Also included in the task force will be labor, community and grassroots leaders, he said. The task force is being asked to come up with a financing plan for the new entertainment and sports complex within the next 100 days, McPeek said. --------------------------------------------------- Fast facts on ICON-Taylor Kings arena feasibility study - The Sacramento rail yards site offers the greatest potential to create jobs and activate the downtown area. The rail yards location is preferred over the proposed site in Natomas. - The new complex is projected to be completed by May 2015 at an estimated cost of $387 million. It would include 1,368 additional seats for NBA games as well as luxury and premium seats. It would also accommodate concerts, shows and other events. - The new task force will look at a number of private-public partnership options with the goal securing total funding prior to the March 1, 2012 relocation deadline. Source: ICON-Taylor