Alameda County plans to delay action over city’s request to help fund A’s new stadium project


After a tense six-hour meeting, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided to postpone the scheduling of a vote until the end of June to decide whether to opt for a tax district that would help Oakland A’s build a waterfront baseball stadium.

The city of Oakland had asked the county to make its decision by the end of the month, a timeline that some county supervisors criticized. Instead, supervisors will pick up on the problem no earlier than September. A specific date has not been set.

The city is asking the county for help in providing taxpayer money to pay for the infrastructure so the A’s can build a baseball stadium at Howard Terminal.

The A’s released a condition sheet in April, but city officials were surprised at the level of public investment in the A’s plan to make the project a reality. Since then, the city administration has been working to finalize a list of “fiscally responsible” conditions before appearing before city council for a vote, city staff said.

The county’s delay in taking action could disrupt Oakland’s plans to finalize the stadium’s condition list ahead of city council’s vote on the project in July.

The supervisory board criticized city staff for giving them only two weeks to consider enrolling in a tax district to help pay for the A’s project.

“The county really shouldn’t be held above the barrel of a barrel,” said board chairman Keith Carson.

He said the As’s had worked with the city for almost five years on the Howard Terminal project and that during that time the county had “never been a part of it.”

The county has “never been at the table, never informed, never solicited, then all of a sudden, we are told that 20 days ago, make a decision or… you are going to derail the project”, a Carson said. “It’s not fair. It’s a bit annoying.

Supervisor Nate Miley said the board has been trying to “get out of the sports business” for years. This is why they agreed in 2019 to sell the Coliseum County share to the A.

“Now it’s like we’re dragged into this again,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, Miley said he was willing to support the city’s request after county staff were given the opportunity to do a financial analysis and ensure the county has a strong incentive to register.

On May 24, Ed Reiskin, the administrator of the city of Oakland, sent a letter to the county administrator asking that supervisors join the city in realizing “a bold vision for our common future” by voting ahead. the end of the month to bring the county property. tax increase to help fund the project.

The letter predicted that the county’s tax revenue from the site would increase from $ 50,000 to $ 6.3 million per year.

The A’s released a conditions sheet in April that detailed a $ 12 billion financial plan to fund a stadium with a capacity of 35,000 participants, 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial uses, up to 270,000 square feet for retail, an indoor performance center for up to 3,500 people, 400 hotel rooms and up to 18 acres of open space accessible to the public.

The stadium itself is expected to cost over $ 1 billion, which the A’s plan to pay for through private funding and project-generated income. The baseball team’s conditions sheet outlines a plan for the city to develop two infrastructure funding districts: one on the stadium site and one that includes a large part of Jack London Square.

Infrastructure finance districts are created to finance public infrastructure projects and are commonly used for large development projects.

Betsy Lake, assistant city administrator for Oakland, said Tuesday that the city did not believe moving forward with two infrastructure funding districts was “fiscally responsible.” Instead, the city wants to vote before the end of the month by declaring its intention to opt for an infrastructure finance district on the site of the baseball stadium.

“We want to do it in a financially responsible manner,” Lake said. “These types of opportunities cannot be realized without everyone’s investment. “

Supervisor Wilma Chan asked Dave Kaval, president of the A’s, if it would be possible for the county to have until September to do its own analysis on the project.

“We cannot discuss this in two weeks,” she said. “It is not doable.”

Kaval said the A’s spent more than $ 200 million over five years to get a new baseball stadium in Oakland. He said it’s critical for the team to know by July 20 if their “vision” is achievable in Oakland.

“We just need to know if people share the vision,” Kaval said. “We are prepared to face the consequences of either decision, but living in this state of limbo … it has to stop.”

Kaval said if the waterfront project was ultimately rejected, the team would have no options left in Oakland.

Sarah Ravani is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SarRavani

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