Bangor, Maine, just approved a $65 million arena. Projections called for $3.7 million a year in debt service. Sound familiar?
But there are differences. Bangor’s Finance Director floated $56.5 million in tax-exempt general obligation bonds, which reduced the debt and saved the city around $750,000 a year. So now the payments will be $2.9 million, or exactly the amount Stockton’s arena lost in its first year.
The city also sold the naming rights to Cross Insurance Agency for 15 years for $3 million. Stockton never attempted to make a penny off arena naming rights. The city did plan to sell the ballpark naming rights. But it dithered and dithered. Finally the Stockton Ports offered to get the job done. No, said the city, don’t do it, we’ll do it. The city never did.
Oh, well. Spilt milk. Best just go go see Cirque du Soleil and enjoy one’sself.