Preliminary vote to OK millions for arena fees - CBS 5 - KPHO

Preliminary vote to OK millions for arena fees

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The Glendale City Council is expected to vote on giving the prospective new owner of the Phoenix Coyotes millions of dollars for arena management fees.

Council members will vote on a preliminary city budget tomorrow. Included is a $17 million earmark for the prospective new owner of the Coyotes. Some said tax payers are getting the short end of the stick.

There's no question that running a full-scale arena like arena in Glendale isn't cheap.

"That arena was built because Glendale residents told council members they wanted to be more than a bedroom community," said city spokeswoman Julie Frisoni.

But how much should it cost, especially when it's your tax dollars at stake?

"Seventeen million dollars is higher than anything comparable I can find," said Dr. Byron Schlomach with the watchdog group The Goldwater Institute.

He said $8 to $10 million seems more accurate and the rest looks suspiciously like a gift to the team's buyer, which violates the state's constitution.

But the city spokeswoman said the arena belongs to the city. Buyer or not, they'd have to pick up the tab anyway.

"The city has a responsibility to pay for our facilities and at the end of the day, we wouldn't do something that wasn't in the best interest of our citizens," Frisoni said.

The Goldwater Institute said they'll look at all documents once a deal is finalized. If something doesn't look right, they might sue the city. 

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