Where will the money come from?
The City of St. Cloud has, for more than 40 years, borne the whole capital cost of constructing and maintaining the MAC. For that entire time, and, we hope, continuing into the future, the benefits of that investment have been shared by the State of Minnesota, through its two post-secondary institutions, and by many other jurisdictions and educational institutions. The users of the facility have always paid the great majority of the operating costs, which is proper.
The time has come for the State of Minnesota to acknowledge, through its bonding authority, to shoulder a share of the cost of this premier facility that serves the region and state so well.
The City’s plan is to use low-interest bonds to pay for the needed enhancements, and, if voters approve, institute a one-half percent sales tax of local sales to go to the project. The sales tax will cover the bond payments to finance the project in an amount not to exceed $21.1 million and will expire in 5 years. The City will also receive a grant from the State of Minnesota of 10 million dollars to help facilitate the project.
Why not just raise the fees? User fees already cover 96% of the operating cost of the MAC. The City does raise fees regularly, and we monitor the fee structure at competing facilities. Many users, especially youth sports, are nonprofit organizations that provide opportunities to youth regardless of income.
Why should the State provide partial funding? The MAC serves a regional and state-wide population. The MAC has been the home of state tournaments, both hockey and baseball, for more than 40 years. The MAC provides facilities that allow other governments and educational institutions to offer athletic programs without the cost of owning and operating venues. Two Minnesota State institutions- St Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College - benefit directly.
The City of St. Cloud has never received any State support for the capital or preservation cost of this complex that serves the region and state. The State has funded a significant number of local athletic venues in recent years. Over the last six biennia (2007-8 through 2017-18) state bonding support has gone to fourteen projects in twelve different communities that totaled more than $90 million. This does not count the $33 million State investment in the National Sports Center in Blaine or the enormous State contributions to Twin Cities professional sports facilities.