Hillsboro decides to put baseball decision on hold

Hillsboro decides to put baseball decision on hold

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The Hillsboro City Council decided to delayed its decision Tuesday to bring Single A short season baseball to the city.

City councilors said they wanted more time for additional negotiations with Northwest League officials to make sure bringing the team to the city was viable.

If the Council had decided to go ahead with getting the team and building a new stadium, bonds would have been issued in time for construction to begin no later than October and be completed by June of 2013. It's unclear exactly how long the latest negotiations between city officials and Northwest League officials will continue.

Northwest League officials asked City of Hillsboro officials in September of 2011 about the potential of bringing a team to the city. On March 20 of this year, city officials began to look into possibly bringing in a team and building a new 4,000-6,000 seat stadium at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex by the summer of 2013. City officials also decided to hire a sports attorney to begin official negotiations with the Northwest League and to hire a consultant to continue with an economic and fiscal analysis of building a new baseball stadium.

City officials aren't considering any tax increases to support the stadium. Instead, the city, if it goes forward with bringing in a team and building a stadium, will issue $13-$15 million in full faith and credit bonds for stadium construction, parking and related fields. City officials said based on initial construction estimates, this is about 50percent less than the average cost of building a new stadium because much of the needed infrastructure is already in place.

Full faith and credit bonds differ from general obligation bonds because they do not increase property taxes in order to make debt service payments. As a result, they do not require voter approval.

City officials want to have revenues the stadium produced to cover as much of the debt service as possible. Revenue sources could include team rent, ticket surcharge fees, naming rights, parking, soft-drink pouring rights and rent from other groups who use the new stadium. If that money can't cover the cost of the annual debt service, city officials would use other discretionary funds, including the general fund, to pay the annual debt service.

The Local Option Tax, which is on the May 2012 ballot, is an operating levy and can't be used for this or any other construction project. The lot is a renewal of the existing tax, which provides enhanced police, fire and parks maintenance services and has been in effect since 1998.