Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Romy Varghese over at Bloomberg has an in-depth look at how the construction of Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey has contributed to the town’s $6 million budget gap.Essentially, Harrison had a plan to jump-start development by building a soccer-specific arena in 2006.
But five years later, the $39 million the town paid to buy land for the stadium has yet to be recouped in redevelopment revenue.
To add insult to economy hardship, the team is refusing to pay property taxes on the arena.
From Varghese and Bloomberg:
“Town officials in December had to borrow $3.1 million — 21 per cent of its municipal tax collections — to make the debt payment on the 2006 issue, and they anticipate doing so again this December, Moody’s said.”
“Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls, whose owner is No. 208 on Forbes magazine’s list of the world billionaires, are challenging their taxable status. The team refuses to pay a $1.4 million property levy, according to Moody’s.”
And further down:
“Even the stadium, the one project that has come to completion, isn’t providing the revenue that town anticipated. The team argues that since the Harrison Redevelopment Agency owns the land, it shouldn’t have to pay property taxes.”
“‘We continue to work with them to find an amicable solution,’ said Erik Stover, the team’s managing director.”
We’re used to billionaires doping cities into building them stadiums.
But refusing to pay property taxes to a town that’s in dire straits and “plans to dismiss 17 per cent of its police and 29 per cent of its firefighters on July 1?”
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