Must Read: Will the OPEB Ostriches Ever Run Out of Excuses?

Original City Proforma

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City's original Pro Forma calculates the following new revenue for Fiscal 2022 from the ballpark taxing district was going to be $3,715,858


  • Ballpark taxes      147,167
  • Parking Revenue     845,650
  • Left Field Boutique hotel and retail taxes   313,060
  • WG South Hotel, Apartments & Retail taxes  1,628,067
  • Personal Property tax    11,526  
  • Use and occupancy tax   571,388
  • Advertising    156,000
  • 8 City revenue Events

Total      $3,715,858

 

 Scary how far we are off from these predictions. 

 

In fiscal 2021 we only raised $391,000....

 


 

Comments

Anonymous said…
In addition to watching the financial plan being under water in an area called the Canal District, you can't gloss over the fact it has been stated that the WooSox are not going to pay property taxes. I just tried to calculate my tax increase and I think I am going up by $121.00. I realize this increase pays for police,fire public works and streets all of which are available to me, but they are also available to the WooSox. How is it we build a $175 million ballpark with tax dollars and they don't have to pay for the same services that are available to them. We are a two income family paying in the Burncoat area paying more in taxes than a multi million corporation which the City built a ball park for. There is something wrong in the City if this is true.
Anonymous said…
This project screams for some sort of audit. The City builds a $175 million ballpark ($75 million over budget) for a for profit corporation, gives the for profit corporation a lease where in the first few years the corporation pays pretty much nothing for lease payments AND then exempts the corporation from paying real estate taxes, most likely without the legal authority to do so. Each of these pieces should be subject to a true audit or at least serious questions being asked.
Gary Samela said…
It just doesn't bother me if the City has to subsidize the park for a few years until the tax revenue from the related developments kicks in. There is plenty of fat in our municipal budget that can be cut

During the the warmer months head up to the field behind the Belmont Hill Elementary School shortly after school lets out. You'll see on the clock DPW workers throwing footballs around waiting for their shifts to end.

I believe that when all is said and done the City's decision to lure the team here
will turn out to be the third most important economic development engines in probably 50 years (Getting the UMass Medical School to be located here and the
146 connector project would be my top 2).


Anonymous said…
The original comment is on taxes not being paid by the WooSox on the ball park and it is an interesting question that should not be dismissed considering the recent post about Peppercorns operating on a property owned by Clark University and Clark University paying taxes on this property. If the standard is using the property for your exempt purpose you need to ask yourself does this principal of not using a property for an exempt purpose be taxed extend to the City itself. It is a reasonable question considering real estate taxes are just a normal expense in a triple net lease and in this case it would probably will produce a few million dollars in real estate taxes to support City services like police,fire public works etc.It should be a simple question a City Councilor should ask.
Anonymous said…
To put the tax question in perspective, if the City was to tax the ballpark at the commercial tax rate it would produce a tax bill of approximately $5,000,000.00 ANNUALLY. How many firefighters, policeman teachers , paved streets etc could this pay for. On the flip side this has to be the biggest tax reduction the City has given out to a business.
Anonymous said…
This game has been played out and called by some since day 1. The tax payers are still
Ending up with the cost. They talk of reduced tax rates but increase values. And increase fees for every other lever they can pull. Incredible how this is continues and people think everything is ok.
Anonymous said…
I can only hope that one of the new City Councilors asks a simple question, should the WooSox be paying real estate taxes since they were not involved in the original votes for bring the WooSox here.
Anonymous said…
Don't hold your breath on the hopes that any City Councilor will ask this question or that the local "newspapers" will either.
Anonymous said…
If the WooSox were to pay real estate taxes wouldn't their tax payments go to pay the bonds since they are in the area?
Gary Samela said…
Not quite sure what your goal here is. You want the City to renegotiate the deal with the team? We can't go back now and rectify any parts of the deal that you feel are too team friendly. Did you show up for all the meetings (city council) and information briefings that were held prior to the deal being signed? Did you call the city manager. mayor and the city councilors to state your concerns about the deal? The Pawsox wouldn't have moved here without getting this deal from the city. RI wasn't willing to offer them such a deal so they let them walk. I think history will show that the City made the better decision. Maybe you would feel better living in Springfield, Hartford, New Bedford or Fitchburg? You might be able to save some money on your property taxes.

Anonymous said…
I can't speak for other commenters but I have only followed Polar Park and the WooSox since last January when I received my real estate tax bill from the City. It was about that time the City was looking for more money to complete the project and it was from a conversation with one of my neighbors when we were talking about our tax increases that he told me specifics about the ball park and this blog. I have commented on the WooSox paying real estate taxes recently because it just doesn't sound correct. It is not my intention to undo a contract, I just would like a question answered. More so now after hearing about The Peppercorns and Clark University taxes. Am I not allowed to ask a question on a situation that does not make sense to me?
Anonymous said…
As for Peppercorns and Clark, Pepe
Rcorns leases the land from Clark and Peppercorns built the building. Peppercorns is taxed on the value of the lease because it is an interest in real estate and the building because it is owned by Peppercorns.

If Clark built a university office building on their own land, no tax.
Clark is tax exempt, Peppercorns is not.
Gary Samela said…
I have mixed feelings about the colleges
getting a free ride.

On the one hand, they benefit from the City's services (police, fire, EMS and DPW). On the other hand, having 35,000 college students in our City is a huge economic boom to our economy.

Some of our colleges and universities have made efforts to be good neighbors.

Clark basically rebuilt the whole neighborhood around their campus as part of the Gardner/ Kilby project. They funded a new boys club and athletic fields. It has made a huge impact to that part of the City. They also fund and run the University School that allows students in the neighborhood to attend Clark free of charge as long as they keep their grades up.

WPI played a huge part in the Gateway Biotech Park off of Grove Street.

M$PHS has rebuilt blocks of buildings downtown for their Worcester campus.

We all know what the Chan Medical School has done for our community.

I see Assumption and Holy Cross as being kind of leeches. If you start taxing them
it gives them a reason to jack up their tuition 18% per year. That would mean less college students would come to Worcester to attend school.

Anonymous said…
Like the WooSox, colleges are a business and must protect their "product". Not to say that their investments did not have a positive effect on the City but I would guess their investments were more focused on the school and the City may indirectly benefit from their investment. Of all the specific accomplishments you cite, MCPHS was probably the most relevant. I assume expansion in Boston was cost prohibitive which most likely led to their decision to expand in Worcester. It is a good thing bringing students to the downtown but the trade off is the loss (redistribution) of tax revenues from their buildings going from taxable to tax exempt.
Anonymous said…
Having colleges here is a net boon to the city (what Gary mentioned but also the thousands of jobs that they provide) so I agree with the tax exempt status on their land and buildings.

Taxing university endowments should be in the table,however.
Gary Samela said…
I do agree that the park was more self-contained than I would have liked.

I'm not sure if you know the story behind the Worcester Medical Center? They had planned to build it off of I-290 in Shrewsbury. The mayor at the time (Jordan Levy) had to beg them to locate Downtown.The site they built it on (across from the DCU Center) was basically a big pile of contaminated dirt. There still were a few businesses there , but the City took them by eminent domain The City cleaned it up and gave the land to the hospital. Unfortunatly, the complex was built with all the entrances located on the other side of the building away from Downtown. So the thousands of people visiting the hospital every day have no reason to venture into the Downtown. The hospital also has a food court which also minimizes any economic spin-off for Downtown. So when the Woosox owners say they wan't to help the Canal District thrive, they have kind of built the park to prevent that.


Anonymous said…
I would take the last comment one step further and state the WooSox are directly in competition with the restaraunts and bars in the Canal District for both concessions and for parking. It would be interesting to hear what the professor from Holy Cross, I apologize that I forgot his name, would say about this statement since he knows more about this than all of us commenters combined.
Anonymous said…
The name of the sports economist from Holy Cross is Victor Matheson. He is quoted in the latest Worcester Business Journal article.