It has been 17 years and 235 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 the Glendale city council will go into executive session. One of its topics is sure to be council’s setting of goals for and approval of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for future management of Glendale’s arena. It is a good move.

An RFP will provide information on what is the fair market value for management of its arena. The previous RFP yielded results that indicated that a fair management fee was in the $6 million dollars per year range. Those results can lead to a totally independent firm managing the arena and removing that responsibility from the Coyotes. It sets up a scenario that has the Coyotes as tenants only.

One area that will have to be resolved is that of the parking fees. Apparently under the temporary 2 year agreement the Coyotes continue to keep parking and ticket surcharge revenues. Why? These schemes…for that’s what they were…were created specifically to generate revenue for the city. They were designed to reimburse the city for the $15M a year it was paying as a management fee.

The  amount generated was approximately $8-$9M a year, not enough to cover the $15M annual management fee. Ticket surcharge revenues had always gone to the city even before the latest agreement with IceArizona. In all previous agreements there had been an escalator clause that incrementally raised the surcharge annually.

Whether the arena manager is a new entity or the Coyotes, it’s time to deal with these surcharges to the benefit of the city. Either parking is once again free as it had been before IceArizona or the parking revenue, if utilized, should go to the city. The same can be said of the ticket surcharge…either it goes away entirely or the revenue goes to the city. If the surcharges were to go to the city and the city continues to pay a $6M annual management fee it is possible that the city may actually cover that annual cost and perhaps generate some revenue to be used for the benefit of Glendale’s citizens. Now, that’s a nice thought, isn’t it? Glendale’s taxpayers have been subsidizing the arena for quite some time. It would be wonderful if the arena actually made some money. It’s time for the city to play hard ball and to stop giving away the farm.

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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