Glendale sets aside $17 million for arena-management fee

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Just days after laying off 49 employees to help close a $35 million budget shortfall, the City of Glendale has reportedly included a $17 million fee to manage Jobing.com Arena, payable to Phoenix Coyotes prospective owner Greg Jamison, in its proposed preliminary budget.

City council will vote on the preliminary budget Tuesday, and by all indications it will be approved.

From The Arizona Republic:

Four of seven Glendale council members have said they see the $17 million management fee as a placeholder in the city’s budget. The city must manage the arena whether the Coyotes stay in Glendale or not, and if a deal is not reached with Jamison, the budgeted amount allows the city to put arena management up for bid.

The four council members say they see the $17 million as a reasonable cost based on information city staffers have provided and that keeping the Coyotes in Glendale is crucial for the city’s economic future.

Vice Mayor Steve Frate said he feels comfortable approving the fee in the preliminary budget because it won’t be effective until council sees a finalized deal. He expects one soon.

I’d be interested to know the information city staffers used to deem the $17 million a “reasonable cost” to manage an arena. Not because I don’t think it is – I have no idea if it is or not. I’ve never owned an arena. But if it’s not, the Goldwater Institute could claim it violates the state’s gift clause and make a stink about it.