It was reported Sunday night that the Bengals are offering to help county with $40 million worth of "concessions" to help Hamilton County's fiscal problems. Now that this has been made to light, you know elected officials have to respond -- I'll put money that this will become a political catfight between an owner that's demonized in the city and county commissioners whose main focus at their jobs is finding ways of keeping their jobs. Commissioners acknowledge that the Bengals offer will help ease the financial crisis facing Hamilton County.
Hamilton County Commissioners respond to the Bengals offer.
The county commissioners say one of the concessions appears to allow the Bengals to end the lease - and potentially leave Cincinnati - in 2017. That's nearly 10 years earlier than the current lease allows. The Bengals, however, told the media and commissioners that they are not asking to get out of the lease early. The paragraph in question simply solidifies the lease as it currently stands, until 2016, according to the team.
No matter how the offer is read, the Bengals' concessions still won't generate enough revenue to fix county's stadium fund. That means the county - aka the taxpayers - still have a lot of money to come up with before this problem is solved.
"The numbers aren't enough to solve the entire stadium fund problem," Commissioner David Pepper said. "This is part of the solution, but not all of it."
Of course, the Bengals want something in return. Well, a few things.
- Option to terminate the lease in 2017 -- not to leave town.
- Bengals can lease out the county's suit.
- Revenue for stadium events (not Bengals related) go to the Bengals.
- No new taxes on Bengals related events or merchandise.
I love this one.
The county must agree to a "constructive" relationship with the team, including avoiding future "public bickering" about the team in public meetings.