Metro Council approves bond issuance for LP Field upgrades with little resistance

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 10:36pm

New scoreboards with high definition video screens, an enhanced sound system and additional elevators are among the upgrades headed to LP Field before the kick-off of the 2012 National Football League season.

The Metro Council finalized a stadium enhancement deal between the Tennessee Titans and the city Tuesday night, voting 33-3 to approve a bond issuance not exceeding $28 million to finance enhancements to 12-year-old LP Field. Covering the bonds are dollars collected via an LP Field user-fee already applied to Titans tickets, which the council voted to bump from $2 to $3 Tuesday by approving a separate ordinance.

“We have an obligation to maintain this stadium,” Councilman Bruce Stanley told colleagues prior to Tuesday’s vote.

Metro pays an annual $1 million subsidy for the capital improvements of 12-year-old LP Field. The Titans are tasked with overseeing the daily operations of the stadium, but Metro is responsible for its long-term capital needs.

Under the approved deal, Metro has pledged its non-tax revenues –– which comes from a variety of different fees –– to cover the difference if attendance were to dive and the ticket tax revenues are insufficient.

Don MacLachlan, the Titans executive vice president for administration and facilities, said LP Field had “become woefully behind” other NFL stadiums in amenities. “Now was the time to move forward with these enhancements,” he said.

Among other improvements include the installation of the ribbon boards around the stadium, the replacement of the stadium’s control room as well as new areas aimed at improving the game-day experience for fans.

“The fans that come to LP Field next year for any and all events will notice a dramatic difference,” MacLachlan said, adding that it will be a “busy offseason,” with construction set to begin as early as late January.

The stadium-upgrade package overcame what amounted to minor opposition in the council. The proposal’s lone dissenters were councilmen Phil Claiborne, Duane Dominy and Tony Tenpenny.

Claiborne, though agreeing upgrades are warranted, said he’s concerned about the life of the bond payments, which extends through 2037. The current stadium lease between Metro and the Titans ends nine years earlier in 2028, he pointed out.

“The deal is upside down,” Claiborne said.

“We don’t have any guarantee that people are going to be sitting in the seats over there, where this revenue is supposed to be coming from,” he said. “If we have an unfortunate one or two seasons, such as we had last year, there’s no guarantee that folks are not going to be bailing from their PSLs.”

36 Comments on this post:

By: Loner on 12/6/11 at 11:48

Wow! Metro moved with lightning speed on this cash extortion bid by Bud Adams and company. Incredible.

This heavy-handed shakedown for cash...with no discussion, debate or significant resistance.... is proof positive that the mob runs Nashville, TN. Your Metro Council is a rubber stamp for corruption.

Music City could use a good outside audit by federal authorities...you folks are being raped.

By: TITAN1 on 12/7/11 at 6:43

The council did exactly what they should. Props to them!

By: Loner on 12/7/11 at 6:51

Bud Adams is a not very articulate, arrogant bore....TITAN1 is Bud Adams?
The "props" must be his Christmas gifts to those filthy Council members who do his bidding.
The guy reminds me of Al Capone.

By: T-BONE on 12/7/11 at 7:21

The "PHOOT-ball" God's have spoken! The FAT-CAT TEXANS shall receive! So bend over Nashville taxpayers, you too will eventually "receive" and you "WILL!" like it!...A fool and his money are soon parted! $ucker$

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 8:01

Loner - The heads up on Titan1, he was packman's biggest fan and ally when he was here. Titan1 even went so far as post, it didn't matter what the little thug did off the field. Your 10:48 comment is dead on as to what is taking place here.

By: JayBee56 on 12/7/11 at 8:06

Claiborne has a valid point. All of this is contingent on attendance continuing and good seasons. Extending the bonds puts Metro on the hook longer should anything go wrong. Thank you, Messrs Claiborne, Dominy and Tenpenny for opposing the deal. For the others, they are mortgaging Metro's future for a private business.

By: Ask01 on 12/7/11 at 8:19

I like sports as well as the next person.

That said, I would never pay the price demanded to attend any professional or college sporting event. I may or may not watch a contest on television, depending on what is offered on History Channel, The Learning Channel, or Science Channel. An Abbott and Costello Marathon will render me a couch potato for the duration.

I don't begrudge those with the disposable income allowing them to indulge in such an extravaganze as attending sports.

I do believe, however, those who actively support teams and directly benefit financially should shoulder the entire burden of financing the, building, operating, and maintaining facilities where these spectacles are staged.

Team owners and the players, as well as those in attendance, along with the business owners who charge outrageously inflated prices in the stadium, and their enteprenureal bretheren outside the stadium who benefit from the teeming masses lust to throw away their money should all contribute to the upkeep of their playpen.

The city and the taxpaying citizens who never bother with such frivolities should not be expected to foot the bill.

We have been snookered by our elected servants into this mess, with obligations incurred by current and previous administrations to invest and protect the investment into which we were railroaded.

Oh, wait. I forgot you voters of Davidson County, blinded by the promises of snake oil salesmen such as former Mayor Phil Bredesen, asked for this by approving a referendum.

It's too bad we didn't build in an opt out resolution, or better yet, a buy in option so those in favor of the stadium could sign over their homes and income to support this entertainment boondoggle.

Perhaps such language can be included in the discussions for curent Mayor Karl Dean's baseball field.

I wonder how many politicians, business people, and citizens would step forward to vote for a resolution in which they were putting their personal money on the line and not the seemingly bottomless pockets of Joe Taxpayer?

By: T-BONE on 12/7/11 at 8:47

WELL SAID Ask01

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 8:55

Ditto on the Ask01 comment! I don't get throwing all this money into surveys, studies & plans when, a ball park has not been approved nor the land for one acquired. Like the MCC, all land for it still hasn't been acquired.

By: Ask01 on 12/7/11 at 9:08

Thanks, T - BONE and bfra for the support.

I just feel we, as a city, have many more pressing problems, financial, educational, and infrastructure to be so concerned with an issue which will, to be honest, benefit only small percentage of citizens.

Let's get citizens back to work, the potholes fixed, and sidewalks in place before we further massage the egos of those in power.

By: frodo on 12/7/11 at 9:44

But don't you understand, Ask01, getting good seats at games and concerts and rubbing shoulders with the famous is the big perk for otherwise small-potato Nashville mayors and councilmenbers. Take that away, and it would be so boring with nothing but sidewalks and potholes. Seriously, I'm for playing good host to sports businesses. But I'm tired of bankrolling them.

By: MusicCity615 on 12/7/11 at 9:54

Glad to see Nashville's LP Field is improving. I am glad to see property taxes are not increasing to finance this.

Just like Titan1, I have no financial connections to the Titans, Bud Adams, or Karl Dean. I support them. As does the majority of Nashvillians who VOTED in FAVOR of the Titans Stadium, and the LANDSLIDE that elected Karl Dean's reelection.

T-Bone - I don't think you want to compare us to Houston. Houston's stadium was twice as expensive as LP Field.

By: TITAN1 on 12/7/11 at 10:07

Loner, get a friend.

bfra, your memory fails you, but I will not explain (for the100th time) the position I took at the time pacman was here.

T-Bone, you just whine about everything.

MusicCity615, well said. There are people here who thrive on joy sucking and whining. It is the highlight of their day.

To the whiners, I'm sure you can find a little town like Mayberry. Good luck and have a great day!

By: Left-of-Local on 12/7/11 at 10:11

The tiny minds never cease to astound. I am not a big sports fan, but just a quick remedial civics/economics notion for those who are always so quick to piss and moan about the big bad evil Mayor and that big scary idea called progress and growth...

THIS IS A BOND. BONDS ARE LOANS, NOT FREE MONEY.

Thank you, that is all.

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 10:11

MusicCity615 - Guess you are back at work! Property tax are in the future, except Karl is probably working on how he can skirt the taxpayer's right to vote on the matter. No way Nashville can compare to Houston, their planners planned for the future. Look at the layout of the City's wide streets compared to Nashville's narrow, alley like streets, in the main parts of Town. That aside, how did he compare Nashville to Houston, anyway?

By: Left-of-Local on 12/7/11 at 10:16

ACTUALLY... What is going on NOW is the fixing of those issues, which were borne of the past. But people keep crying about it, and we have the stupidest fights, like the unfathomable presence of a rathole like the Fairgrounds.

So progress gets made slowly, while we drag the curmudgeons kicking and screaming into the rest of the 21st century.

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 10:21

Left-of-Local - So you favor making the fatcat politicians & Bud richer? Throw that money at them boy! But the Fairgrounds, that belongs to Metro & the taxpayers, you think putting money in that is wrong. Your priorities are questionable!

By: frodo on 12/7/11 at 10:34

"Progress." God protect us from some of the the progress that progressive have enforced upon us through the ages.

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 10:44

IMO - Our inept politicians don't know the difference between progress & greed!

By: Left-of-Local on 12/7/11 at 11:24

I favor having a city finally grow up and continuing that path. Since the money has to be repaid, it is not a gift and since municipal bonds are perfectly normal parts of such procedures and certainly not unique to our city or the current governing people who happen to be using it as means in this transaction, I see no room for the idiotic accusations and reactions I have read here.

The fairgrounds is not progress in the least. It is a rotting and obsolete space, being propped up through false historic justifications, ignorance, and a clinging to tradition that is hardly appropriate to the many factors of the property.

By: MusicCity615 on 12/7/11 at 11:26

bfra-

Please move to Houston. Yes I am back at work, and proud of it.

By: MusicCity615 on 12/7/11 at 11:27

Left-of-Local:

Your posts are great. I agree with everything you are saying. The Fairgrounds is a mess. How dare our ELECTED mayor by the PEOPLE propose to turn it into an office park for companies to work and hire locals and increase our tax base! How dare him!!

By: MusicCity615 on 12/7/11 at 11:32

and to further my point, it was amazing to see how many people complained when Mayor Dean stated that he wanted to double Nashville's college graduates. What a scumbag! (please note sarcasm).

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 11:33

Music - Wonder how I knew that? Keep feeding on that political propaganda machine, and you will probably be in that same job, say, 5 yrs from now. Left isn't left of local, he is at the right of logic!

By: MusicCity615 on 12/7/11 at 11:44

Bfra- I don't work for the government....

I work for the private sector. You know absolutely nothing about me.

By: bfra on 12/7/11 at 11:47

Music - Don't get paranoid, who said you worked for the government?

By: frodo on 12/7/11 at 11:49

Left-of, you say "Since the money has to be repaid, it is not a gift..." How long will it take before I (the taxpayer) am paid back on this loan? And, in the progressive way of doing things, shouldn't all businesses have the same privilege to dip into that till?

By: NewYorker1 on 12/7/11 at 12:08

Why am I not surprised? Undisputed funding for sports, but schools, roads, Infrasture improvements, libraries, etc go through pure hell to get a dime. And people wonder why I hate sports.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/7/11 at 12:16

A college student that runs 50 yards in a football game, but reads on a 6th grade level is all over the news papers the next day, but I guy that graduates summa cum-laude with a PH.D in engineering. never gets recognized. "The dumbing down of America" continues. LOL....

By: NewYorker1 on 12/7/11 at 12:31

When I turned my TV on yesterday, Chris Johnson was doing an interview. OMG! I was so embarrassed for him. Bless his heart. I pray that he never does another interview again in his life. Please Jesus Master don't ever let that child do another interview. Save us all from that pain.

By: TITAN1 on 12/7/11 at 1:02

Do you only have one channel on your tv, new yorker?

By: NewYorker1 on 12/7/11 at 3:51

Titan1, I have many adult channels. Join me?

By: TITAN1 on 12/7/11 at 4:40

No thanks, tasteless, just like most of your posts. Since I also have a choice I will now ignore them.

By: Shane Smiley on 12/7/11 at 11:31

The issue is not the upgrades. These upgrades are the responsibility of Metro per the contract so generously tilted in favor of the leasee (Titans).
The issue is the Titans wanting to do all of these upgrades now.
The scoreboards,ribbon boards, and sound system have an estimated 18 year life.
The bond is for 25 years, 9 years after the completion of our current contract with the Titans.
The "Non tax revenue" attached to this bond now has 1.2 Billion dollars attached to it.
Some members of Council pleaded their piers to send this back to the sports authority to be reworked.
They stated a desire to see this funded in a manner allowing the upgrades to be paid off in a time frame more in line with the life expectancy of the upgrades themselves.
They also requested the Titans organization place some type of guarantee on this money to help Metro tax payers in case of poor attendance, strike, or other factors prohibiting generation of revenue to pay these bonds.
IMO, these are all reasonable requests.
The Titans could have raised ticket prices and matched Metro dollar for dollar. Paying these upgrades off during their life expectancy. A sign of good will and partnership with the tax payers and citizens of Davidson county.
Get ready, New seats are next on the list. 26 Million more coming up in 2017.

By: Ask01 on 12/8/11 at 11:10

Metro is going to issue bonds, in effect borrowing moey, and expecting, I suppose, the pittance of revenue they receive as their cut of the loot from LP field to cover that plus interest. I'm not so sure.

Another nagging doubt, hidden in the dark recesses of my mind, is the result if Mr. Adams should tire of Nashville, or, having at last made a demand which even the most spineless mayor or councilmember cannot accept, decides to move his team, (the team is his, isn't it?) to a professional sports starved city looking to put itself on the map? Does any of this sound ironically familiar?

The upside, I suppose would be we would at last be able to use our stadium without having to ask permission of the tenant. We would also have a place to house the homeless.

Do any believe Bud doesn't know the size of the barrel he has Nashville/Davidson County bent over?

By: san r on 12/8/11 at 7:29

the insanity continues.