County Commissioners Weigh More Money for Baseball

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UPDATE: The Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to delay a decision until after the two new members are sworn in on January 7. This was the last meeting for Commissioner Larkin and Commissioner Breternitz.

Breternitz was the lone vote. He said it would be a mistake to delay the decision.

RENO, NV -- The Washoe County Commission was scheduled to consider a half a million dollars a year allocation for the Aces Ballpark Tuesday. The amount is in addition to one million dollars a year for thirty years SK Baseball, the ballpark's developer, is seeking from the City of Reno.

Washoe County Assistant County Manager John Berkich said the issue of baseball funding has come before commissioners before -- each time he said county staff was directed to come up with possible sources of funding.

"It's tough to do it's tough for the City of Reno it's even more tough here at the county," he said.

Commissioners do not legally have to provide funds to the developer.

Berkich said baseball is huge economic benefit to the community, providing jobs and a more than twenty million dollar a year economic impact on the region.

"It's a point of pride in the downtown and it's been a national point of pride with the success of the team."

When the Aces began playing ball more than three years ago, it was in a new stadium. The stadium's construction was reliant on downtown Reno property taxes that were not as high as hoped, according to city officials. Now, the developer is looking for the financial support of local governments as the developer tries to refinance a construction loan for the stadium.

Comprised of four newly elected councilmembers, the Reno City Council turned down a proposal that would have directed a million dollars a year from the city's general fund. The general fund pays for daily city operations, including public safety.

Councilmember Neoma Jardon said the newly elected councilmembers wanted to look for other methods of funding baseball. She said a parking fee is one idea. Other ideas are being vetted, Jardon said. The Reno City Council is slated to discuss possible funding methods for baseball at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

"Keeping the taxpayers' interest at heart and the City's financial well-being in mind, I think we do want to resolve this," Jardon said.