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Washoe County: No commitment yet to Aces ballpark bailout

Reno AcesThe status of a public bailout of Aces Ballpark, home of the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), remains in limbo after Washoe County Commissioners pass on a proposed plan to commit a half-million dollars annually for debt relief.

The county is being asked to pay $500,000 annually for 30 years as part of a $45 million public contribution for refinancing of ballpark debt. As part of the proposal, the city is being asked to pay $1 million annually for 30 years by Aces ownership, who warn the team could end up leaving the city if the debt issue is not addressed. (The Aces owners, for their part, have pledged to put up $45 million as well.)

The funding plan for the ballpark originally depended on development near the ballpark helping to address the long-term debt on the facility. When that development failed to materialize, SK Baseball and lead owner Herb Simon turned to government for financial relief.

The issue faced by both the city and the county: budgets are right, and coming up with $1.5 million annually with no new sources of revenue means cutting other existing programs. The Reno City Council had approved its funding earlier this year, but the new city council — elected to office and seated immediately after the November elections — retracted that funding plan and has been in search of a solution that didn’t include the use of general funds.

Last night county commissioners voted to delay any action on a ballpark funding plan, saying the city needed to come up with a roadmap before any action will be taken on the county level. The bottom line: most public officials in the area are loathe to be the first to commit to public funding of the ballpark, so a solution could be elusive for several weeks.

RELATED STORIES: Could Aces end up leaving Reno?; Reno withdraws future funding plan for Aces ballpark; Washoe County balking at Aces ballpark subsidy; Reno approves ballpark bailout; Aces owners: Refinance ballpark or we’ll move team; Aces, Washoe County continue debate over property taxes


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