On Friday, a state Appeals Court ruled that an initiative that sought to reverse a City of Glendale sales tax increase of .07 percent should appear on the ballot.
The sales tax increase would help the city avoid budget cuts and would help ease the cost of the Jobing.com Arena management fee. Glendale may consider appealing to the Arizona Supreme Court. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected hearing the case a few weeks ago when the group seeking the initiative asked them to rule against a lower court ruling that favored the city.
What does this mean for the Phoenix Coyotes? Glendale has paid the NHL $25 million per year over the last two years to manage the arena. That payment is higher than any year under the agreement with prospective Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison. Just like a person who can pay their bills would welcome a raise, not getting one would not prevent them from fulfilling their prior obligations.
As discussed by a Glendale representative in the council meeting when the Jamison/Glendale lease agreement was approved, there is significant benefit in keeping the Coyotes in the arena under the lease with Jamison rather than allowing the team to leave. The city still has bond payments to make on the arena regardless of how many events take place at it. The Coyotes provide a minimum of 43 games per season and could provide as many as 59 games. The Coyotes had 52 home games last season. The lease with Jamison also entitles Glendale to ticket surcharges and a portion of the arena naming rights.
Jamison has until the first week of January to sign the lease before a new council may complicate matters. The new mayor is expected to be against the already approved lease and the council may be at risk for a majority agreement with the new mayor.
There are assurances built into the lease agreement that Jamison will receive an agreed upon fee.
NOTE: The one possible casualty of waiting for this deal to be done is Coyotes captain Shane Doan. His deadline will reportedly be sooner than Jamison’s.