Winnipeg mayor's inner circle votes against Goldeyes' lease deal
WINNIPEG -- The fate of the Goldeyes baseball club is up in the air as the mayor's inner circle has voted against a new lease deal for the team.
On Tuesday, Winnipeg’s Executive Policy Committee voted 4-3 against the Goldeyes' deal, which means the matter now moves to City Council with no recommendation from EPC.
"I think our hopes with the sports teams is that they do become more and more self-sufficient," said Coun. Cindy Gilroy.
The 15-year proposal would see the current lease rise from $1 a year to $75,000, $85,000 and then $95,000 over the term.
The city also said proposal also includes millions of dollars in tax and parking subsidies.
"These are not insignificant dollar amounts that are being requested," said Mayor Brian Bowman.
Those opposed, including the mayor, said they don't have enough financial information from the Goldeyes to green-light the deal.
"They are unable to comment on how this subsidy is being utilized on a go-forward basis. I'd like to know," said Bowman.
"I think accountability here seems to be invisible," said Coun. Sherri Rollins.
The councillors who voted in favour argued the value of the team to the larger community.
"The various terms that are in here are workable," said Coun. Jeff Browaty.
If an agreement can't be reached, those in favour of the deal caution no team equals an empty stadium.
"We have certainly not caved in, we've certainly negotiated a better lease than the one that has been in place," said Coun. Brian Mayes.
If council does approve the lease, there is no guarantee that the Goldeyes will sign it.
The team questions some of the city's math.
"No baseball means no entertainment tax," said Jason McRae-King, who is the chief financial officer for the team.
Goldeyes owner Sam Katz, said the team pays property and business taxes, more than other sports teams.
"It would be very hard-pressed to say that we're getting special treatment," said Katz, who added a new deal needs to be in place by the end of the month.
Even though the deal was voted against, Katz isn't ready to throw in the towel.
"Let's not start projecting doom and gloom," he said.
The team said revenue was down 91 per cent this year because the team had to play on the road all season.