An unsettled situation became even more unsettled today, as a proposed 2013 budget for Wilmington (N.C.) lacks any money for a new ballpark for an Atlanta Braves farm team.
The budget, unveiled during a work session this morning, does include a small tax hike to pay for infrastructure (roads, sidewalks) improvements. But in the face of a petition drive that will likely spur a referendum on any public money going toward a proposed new ballpark, the City Council and Mayor Bill Saffo decided against including any money for the project.
Of course, there’s more than a little bit of posturing involved. Since there’s not yet a solid ballpark funding proposal at hand, there’s no specific request for any city spending yet. So even though there was no request for any city money, Saffo and the rest of the City Council seemed to go out of their way to reassure voters that no ballpark money was included in the small tax hike being considered. With city officials fleeing from the ballpark-funding issue at every turn, we’re not so sure we’ll even get to the point where voters have a chance to decide on city funding — and that’s surely causing some concern for Mandalay Baseball Properties, who would manage the ballpark, and the Braves, who would buy the Lynchburg Hillcats (High Class A; Carolina League) and relocate the team to Wilmington.
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