Sacramento proposes to spend half-million on arena consultants

Multiple news outlets have reported that the city of Sacramento will have to spend $555,000 over the next six months on consultants advising the funding process for a new entertainment-and-sports complex.  The Sacramento Bee tells us where the money is coming from:

The funding would come from the city’s parking division budget and from unused money in the city’s budget for capital improvement projects. The capital improvement money otherwise could be available for transfer to the city general fund, which pays for basic services such as police, parks and fire.

Among the advisers being paid would be Dan Barrett, who has already been consulting the issue on the city’s behalf.  He will command a $125,000 salary for his expanded services.  The Bee adds that his duties would also include heading  “a team of financial and legal experts to review proposed financing methods for the $387 million project and help with potential upcoming arena negotiations.”  The city manager needs council approval for contracts over $100,000, which is a reason why Barrett’s deal is of significance.

Mayor Kevin Johnson offered his defense of the proposal in a statement (via News 10):

Given that the arena represents an opportunity to generate $7 billion in economic development and 4,100 jobs, Sacramento needs to play offense to be in the strongest possible position in order to protect taxpayers.

This includes getting as smart as we can on the opportunities that we will need to consider as a part of a public-private partnership.

The city council will review the spending recommendation during next Tuesday night’s meeting.

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