In a decision made on Friday, Racine, WI mayor Cory Mason vetoed previously-approved funding for a proposed Racine arena project.
Recently elected as the city’s new mayor, Mason vetoed funding plans that were included in the city’s 10-year capital improvement plan and 2018 operating budget. Racine officials have spent considerable been debating the construction of a new arena/event center in the city’s downtown, with the venue mentioned in the past as a home for a potential USHL team.
After promising a veto during his campaign, Mason submitted the paperwork for that action on Friday. In explaining his decision, Mason criticized the financial aspects of the proposal. More from The Journal Times:
Mason’s veto calls for striking $2.5 million in intergovernmental revenue sharing (I.G.) funds from the operating budget, as well about $55 million in earmarks for the event center in the capital improvement plan. That includes $39.5 million in bonding and another $12.8 million dollars in I.G. funds to finance that debt.
In his written explanation for the veto, Mason highlights what he sees as the project’s lack of financial stability. That includes concerns that the proposed financing would draw too widely from not just the tax increment financing district proposed for the project, but also from taxing districts designed to spur development in other areas like West Racine.
Mason also raises concerns about the project’s heavy reliance on intergovernmental revenue sharing funds the city gets from outlying municipalities to help spark development within its borders.
The Racine City Council, which is scheduled to have a meeting on Tuesday, does have the ability to override Mason’s veto. A veto override will require approval from 10 of 15 alderman, a two-thirds majority. Racine was at one point in pursuit of a Milwaukee Bucks’ franchise in the NBA Gatorade League, only for the Bucks to instead place the team (now known as the Wisconsin Herd) in Oshkosh. In addition, the city has been mentioned as a possible USHL market, as Minnesota Wild (NHL) owner Craig Leipold, a Racine native, has previously said he would assist in bringing a team to the Racine market.
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