Sports Complex — How do You feel?

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, Grenada City voters will vote on authorizing the purchase of millions of dollars worth of bonds to construct a sports complex.

This is not an easy decision. It will obligate taxpayers for the next 30 years, including our children and grandchildren.

We invite your opinion. Please write:

Letters to the Editor, GrenadaStar, 50 Corporate Row, Grenada, MS 38901,

or E-Mail

Publisher@GrenadaStar.com.

The Following is an Editorial in which we tried to voice the pros and cons of the project.

We will have more analysis and comments on the subject, and we hope you will, too.

An EDITORIAL

Grenada Sports Complex

        Overview

In 1992, after an act by the Mississippi Legislature, the Grenada Tourism Commission was formed and financed by a tax of one percent on food and two percent on motel rooms. Half of the money was to go to the city and half was designated to the new commission.

In March of this year, the state passed legislation extending the original tax and adding an additional one percent to each category, bringing the tax on prepared food to two percent and the tax on motel rooms to three percent. All of the increase in revenue will go to the city to build a sports complex.

The additional tax, however, cannot go into affect until after ballot approval of 60% of city voters who vote in special election set for Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Today’s edition has considerable information concerning a possible sports complex proposed to be located on the northeast quadrant of the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and Paper Mill Road.

We urge you to study even more information on the subject by clicking on the links at the end of this editorial.

Our Opinion

         Our thoughts are that the study looks like the nice promotional material one might receive from a time-share in Florida.

It looks terrific. It looks fun. What we don’t know is how much it will cost taxpayers in the end.

If the city floats a $5 million bond for 30 years at 5%, the total payout including interest over the 30 years will be $9.75 million, at the rate of about $325,000 a year. This does not include any operational expense. The proposed tax increase is expected to net about $450,000 per year.

At last audit the city’s General Fund was $2.6 million in the red. We understand the city owned golf course loses significant money each year.

Annual Costs???

        We have not seen any operational expense estimates for the proposed sports complex, except that it is predicted to lose about $1 million in the first year (Page 3, Preliminary Economic Study). Will that money come out of the General Fund make it even more overdrawn? Where will that money come from? Tax increases?

How many people will it take to operate and maintain the complex? Twenty?

If the city hires 20 new employees at $10 per hour that will be a direct payroll of $416,000. Every payroll position carries about 24% in additional matching taxes, benefits, etc., so that makes the payroll over a half million. Of course, we can’t hire a manager for $10 an hour and if we are going to get tournaments, we’ll have to have a person who specializes in booking them.

These are some of the negatives that haunt us on the way to the voting booth.

But others are quick to point our some positives:

The preliminary Economic Impact Study (page 3) says we can expect 60,000 out-of-town visitors generating $6.3 million in lodging, $7.9 million for food and beverage, $5.7 million for transportation, $6 million in shopping, $1.6 million for recreation, and $4.5 million for other spending.

How can one oppose a return on investment like that?

Population decline

         There is a terrific amount of interesting and vital information in the study that is related to more community effort than just a sports complex.

One concern the study emphasizes is that Grenada County lost 3.1% population from 2010 to 2017, bringing the total to 21,208. The study projects another 3% loss by 2027, bringing the city’s population to some 20,559.

The study does not detail Grenada city population trends, but CensusViewer.com shows the city losing a little over 12% of its population from 2000 to 2010, down to a total of 13,092.

During the decade, the city’s black population declined by 4.29% to 7,027, and the city’s white population declined by 20.07% to 5,861.

During the same period (2000 to 2010) the county lost 5.84% of total population. Black population went down 4% to 9,140 and white population went down 7.49% to 12,465, according to CensusViewer statistics.

We cannot continue to compete with Oxford, Batesville and other communities with a consistent decline in population.

Reasons to vote FOR the Complex

Here are some reasons we see to vote for the Complex:

In order to recruit new industry in today’s competitive market, we must have a high quality of life quotient to lure new companies and new families. Such a complex could be important to that.

If all the projections are right … if this will lure millions of dollars of tourist revenue to our town … it will not cost local taxpayers.

We are hindering the recreational opportunities of our youth.

     Our community is stagnant. We need to do something.

Please read the feasibility study at GrenadaStar.com and make up your own mind.

Reasons to vote AGAINST the Complex

         Here are some reasons we see to vote against the Complex:

The Grenada City Council does not have a very good record when it comes to spending money and managing projects.

We are still paying hundreds of thousands each year for the golf course.

The city general Fund is $2.6 million overdrawn, according to the most recent audit (FYE 2016, page 17). How can taxpayers afford more financial exposure?

So far as we know, the city has not come up with an operational profit and loss for the project.

We have no idea how much it will cost to run and no projections as to operational revenue.

Please read the feasibility study at GrenadaStar.com and make up your own mind.

Please click links below for more information:

Sports Complex Feasibility Study

Economic Impact Study – Grenada Sports Complex