Though some issues still need to be resolved, Aberdeen hopes it can vote soon on a license agreement for Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, home of the Aberdeen IronBirds (Short Season A; NY-Penn League).
At the end of 2017, the licensing agreement between the City of Aberdeen and the IronBirds expired after the two sides experienced difficulties in their negotiations over a renewal. Under the terms of the previous agreement, Tufton Baseball LLC–the Ripken-backed entity that owns the IronBirds–managed non-IronBird events at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium, while keeping revenues and paying the city an annual license fee.
With that agreement expired, the city has been pursuing an arrangement with Huntley Sports Group that would allow the outside firm to manage non-IronBird events at the ballpark. A vote was on whether or not to approve the agreement was to have taken place earlier this month, but was delayed amidst concerns expressed about the city’s compliance with certain IRS regulations. According to the latest update, the city could vote on an agreement as early as February 12, but mayor Patrick McGrady says that legal concerns must be addressed before a vote is taken. More from The Aegis:
“The council has instructed all of the lawyers to work toward an agreement the council will be able to approve sooner rather than later,” McGrady said. “There’s an understanding tme is running out in terms of 2018 and we’re trying to find a solution that will work for all parties.”
The city’s bond lawyer, who reviews its tax obligations, raised concerns over the city’s compliance with IRS safe harbor provisions for municipal debt obligations and tax ramifications, McGrady said.
“We’re making sure that the contracts that are in place, that the actions of the city in the past and the proposed action of the city in the future do not cause violations of federal tax law that could cause the city to be fined,” he said.
Because the stadium was built using tax exempt municipal bonds, violations could include a private entity being the sole user of the project, McGrady said, by way of an example.
Liedos Field at Ripken Stadium has been to the IronBirds since it opened in 2002.
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