Taxpayers may be on the hook for former baseball team's utility - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Taxpayers may be on the hook for former baseball team's utility bill

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The former New Britain Rock Cats stadium (WFSB photo) The former New Britain Rock Cats stadium (WFSB photo)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

New Britain officials say taxpayers may be on the hook for a bill that hasn’t been paid for by the city’s outgoing baseball team.

The Yard Goats, formerly the New Britain Rock Cats, reportedly owe the city of New Britain about $150,000 for utilities stemming from its lease at New Britain Stadium.

“While the team and its owners have relocated from the city, they are not off the hook for these overdue bills,” said Mayor Erin Stewart in a press release. “Under the lease agreement between New Britain and the Rock Cats, the team is responsible for paying the electric and utilities that they used while tenants at New Britain Stadium.”

Officials said the city would pay the bill each year, and then the team would reimburse the city.

New Britain officials said the letter, dated Jan. 25, to General Manager Tim Restall, city officials detailed $149,317.21 in utility bills that are owed to the city. The bill includes: $80,582.62 to Eversource; $47,907.37 to TransCanada; $8,635.85 to Connecticut Natural Gas; $12,245.37 for water and sewer

“I will not sit silent and have taxpayers foot the bill for these utilities,” Stewart said. “I continue to be troubled by the ownership’s continuing disrespect for the agreement they had with the city. We have held up our end of the lease and acted with professionalism throughout our relationship with them. Now it’s time for them to respond accordingly.”

The outstanding bill covers the year of 2015. The city's lease agreement ended on Dec. 31, 2015. 

The press release said, "under the terms of the agreement, the city has paid the utility companies, but payment is now owed to the city for reimbursement."

In a statement, Yard Goats General Manager Tim Restall said "the Yard Goats received the invoice which was dated Jan. 25, 2016- two days ago.  Per our lease, the team has 120 days of receipt of said documentation to pay the bill. The Yard Goats have every intention of paying our bills as we always have."

Eyewitness News reached out to Restall on Wednesday night. 

"As our relationship with New Britain comes to a close, we will, as we always have, continue to honor the terms of our lease with the City of New Britain," Restall said in a statement on Wednesday. 

Officials said this isn't the first time that the city has had to pursue outstanding payments from the team.

In August 2014, officials said "the city put the ownership on notice for failing to pay $164,569 in property taxes owed to the town of Berlin. The owners have since paid those taxes."

Stewart said the city may have to sue the team as a result of lack of reimbursement.

The city exclusively told Eyewitness News that officials are asking for $6,000 from the team, to pay for damages left behind at the New Britain Stadium and the office that was used by the team.

Damages left behind include a broken water fountain, a missing water heater for one of the the sky boxes, door handles broken, and broken lights.

"There were holes punched in walls, locks that were ruined. The wires were cut to a lot of the communication systems. That's going to cost over $6,000 to repair," Stewart said.

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