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Baseball cost overruns not city's problem

Date published: 8/24/2014

I have been a resident of this city for many years. I moved here with my wife in a plan to raise our children in a quality, family-friendly community. In 30 years, I will probably have easily spent $1 million to $3 million in the community. For this I ask nothing in return.

That is why it offends me on a moral level when wealthy businessmen from South Florida and New Jersey say they will move here, but only if they are given somewhere in the sum of $18 million. It's a slap in the face to those who play by the rules, balance their budgets, pay their mortgages and go to work in the morning to feed their families, only to find they are supporting the rich.

I am also offended by our City Council, who have the gall to offer the exact same deal we citizens rejected last year in the only public debate so far. There has been no further discussion, no addressing of concerns about financial risk upon the taxpayers. Just delays and obfuscations, with a cynical choice to break this news after we voters have had our say in the recent elections. When does our financial support end? When will the deal be altered again? If there are cost overruns, those are the team's problem. That's the "risk" part of the business equation, and I'm glad we're not currently on the hook for it.

These are the questions we must ask when chasing whales. These are answers we are entitled to hear as taxpayers if they choose to ask for our money. The deal Fred Howe negotiated, while it had its flaws, met us taxpayers halfway. For that I am thankful. I ask the City Council members to honor this deal, even if it means losing the team. Let them move to Cumberland, who incidentally also has a stadium study currently underway.

Sean McCollum