Peter Bronson describes how sweet the Bengals deal is, relative to Paul Brown Stadium, and the struggling financial problems that Hamilton County is faced with. Now, the Bengals have no further financial obligation, making their "last rent payment" for Paul Brown Stadium; 10 years after today, the tax payers will start paying the Bengals, with an initial cap of $2,670,000 million, increased 5% every year afterwards. In the agreement's last nine years, the county will "pay the Bengals “ 'for any and all expenses of any nature whatsoever incurred by the Team relating to the Stadium Complex for the immediately preceding lease year.' "
In other words, the county pays all stadium costs – maintenance, cleanup, utilities, repairs. One clause in the contract requires the county to add any improvements that are adopted by at least 14 other NFL teams, including new turf, new video screens, new sound systems or even “holographic replays.”
It's true that voters approved this, a lease agreement was signed (negotiated by a public servant that eventually became a Bengals employee). The Bengals respond, claiming Hamilton County's Council is propagandizing political points.
“The lease was arranged with front-end payments to the county’s advantage, not their disadvantage,” Brown said. “We’re paying no rent now because we already paid the rent. And we paid more of a share of construction than Baltimore” and other teams, such as Tennessee and Indianapolis, he said.
While what Brown said is expedient and legally safe, he should also understand that the county is suffering -- not because of just the Stadium deal; rather a terrible economy in which states are losing money for basic civil services like unemployment and workers compensation. Medicaid? Forget it. It's a trickle down effect. What the state can't give the county and local governments, those governments won't have. Hamilton County struggled to pass a budget, threatening to dissolve over 500 jobs, many of whom are law enforcement deputies. The budget was cut over $30 million, while many people were laid off, and one of four Hamilton County jails shutdown.
You can blame anyone, or anything you want. Take sides if you wish. The reality is that, right now, saying that Hamilton County is struggling, would be an understatement. Many, many, organizations and institutions are. We feel that as a man of Cincinnati, Brown should put aside his "what, not me," deflections, realizing that as Hamilton County suffers, while people are laid off and more people having less work in the area. Solution. I don't have one. I'm not privy to such discussions, with my facts limited to Google searches. But the idea to defer Hamilton County's obligations to a private business can't be disregarded. If any company in the county did the same thing, pitch forks and torches during Access Hollywood glow on the horizon. It should be investigated. If for any reason, to assist (not lead, encourage, or any of that) in helping Hamilton County so, you know, more people would be willing to come to games because they might have a few extra bucks. Plus, it would show a commitment to the community, and not the over-riding belief that our team's owner is a prick when it comes to jokers like us.
But what do we know? We're the guys sitting at home, watching football on our couch, because it just makes more sense to save our money.