The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County is prepared to give Pacers Sports & Entertainment another $11 million to offset losses from operating Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
CIB President Ann Lathrop said Wednesday afternoon that the $11 million payment could be delivered in July 2014, after the current agreement with the Pacers expires. All told, the Pacers will receive $21 million from CIB next year, including money it will receive for repairs to be made to the fieldhouse. The CIB board voted 8-0 Wednesday afternoon to approve the funding.
In a July 2010 contract, CIB agreed to give the Pacers $33.5 million over three basketball seasons to offset losses from operating the venue. In December 2012, the CIB extended the contract for another year and gave the Pacers an additional $10 million.
The CIB and the Pacers are negotiating a long-term contract that could keep the team in the city for several more years, Lathrop said. The current lease expires in 2019.
“Both sides are negotiating in very good faith,” Lathrop said. “I feel very confident that between now and the end of the year, we’ll have an agreement.” . . . To cover the $35 million budget increase, CIB will use money from its renewal and replacement account and operating reserves, Lathrop said.
“We absolutely planned for this,” she said. “In my mind, that’s prudent.”
Even though the Fieldhouse is used 100% for Simon's personal business purposes, no property taxes are paid on the building. If he paid property taxes like every other building owner in this city, his annual tax bill would be at least $5.25 million. It is unconstitutional to permit publicly-owned property that is used for private for-profit purposes to be tax-exempt, but this is Indiana and we don't pay much attention to our state constitution when it comes to such matters. [Note: Mayor Ballard vetoed a provision of last year's budget that would have required the CIB to pay a PILOT of $15 million to the city for the Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium and the convention center. Our corrupt mayor had taxpayer-paid lobbyists convince the state legislature to amend state law to bar the City from ever collecting a PILOT on the CIB facilities.]
UPDATE: Check out the comments of City-County Council President Maggie Lewis, who has accepted thousands of dollars' worth of free tickets to Pacers games, explaining to the Star why she supports the CIB's budget:
Council President Maggie Lewis, also a Democrat, has a seat on the CIB and voted in favor of the budget proposal.
The Democrat said it was “very wise to go ahead and set this money aside as we negotiate.”
And Lewis predicted a smoother ride for the CIB budget this year. . .
“I think because the CIB is helping offset the cost of public safety,” Lewis said, “that’s going to help my colleagues make a sound decision regarding the budget.”