Hartford residents weigh in on Yard Goats funding plan - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford residents weigh in on Yard Goats funding plan

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Construction continues at the Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford. (WFSB file photo) Construction continues at the Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford. (WFSB file photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

People living in Hartford got the chance on Monday evening to weigh in on an agreement to cover a gaping baseball stadium construction budget hole.

Mayor Luke Bronin announced a funding plan to cover a $10.3 million shortfall that threatened to delay the opening of the Hartford Yard Goats' Dunkin Donuts Park.

Hundreds came out on Monday evening to hear what Bronin had to say about the plan.

"This is going to cost taxpayers, no matter what," Bronin said.

His plan included having taxpayers foot a portion of the bill, something the previous administration promised wouldn't happen.

Under the funding agreement, the city would receive $2 million from the Yard Goats team and $2.3 million from DoNo Hartford LLC, the stadium's developer.

The developer would also pay approximately $225,000 per year in additional taxes for the life of any bonds issued by the city or the Hartford Stadium Authority. The city would also no longer be responsible for $500,000 to improve a nearby indoor parking garage.

Bronin said that as a result of the agreement, the City Council would be asked to approve an additional $5.5 million in construction funding. DoNo Hartford LLC's tax payments should cover about $2 million of that; however, taxpayers would have to support the remaining third to fill the gap.

He did say that the developer has agreed to pay higher taxes on the project, which could help raise $2 million over time.

Bronin said no one wanted to put more taxpayer money into the project, but the city had to play the hand it was dealt.

The mayor tweeted on Monday, saying "Nobody is happy about putting more money in, but I do believe this agreement respects the long-term interest of taxpayers."

Not everyone is in favor of the plan.

"It was a poorly construed plan. I can't understand why anyone would put this together and saddle the city of Hartford with such debt," said Bill Katz.

Most of the people who spoke on Monday night don't blame the mayor for the problem, since it happened before he even took office.

The bottom line is that people are still frustrated that regular taxpayers, who did not cause budget overruns, will still have to foot the bill.

Stadium construction was set to be completed on May 17, under the new agreement.

The meeting began at 5 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library downtown atrium, which is 500 Main St.

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