Supporters of the two time champion Houston Dynamo went before Commissioners Court to urge Harris County to to accept the city’s request and join the East Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). Tax revenue under a TIRZ helps to attract more investment in the area. Diane Lipton is president of the East End Chamber of Commerce. She says as East Downtown TIRZ partners, Harris County and Houston would agree to forgo 10-million dollars of its share of property taxes from the area to help pay for the stadium.
Lipton “Participation in the TIRZ with only the first ten million dollars dedicated to the stadium infrastructure, compared to five times that much money being invested by the Dynamo, and then four times the average jobs generated by a normal business expansion, makes the stadium extremely wise use of tax payer dollars.”
“Obviously it’s become a hot topic.”
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett:
“It’s something that I’m very interested in, but it is in Commissioner Lee’s precinct and Commissioner Garcia’s got a little piece of it, and we’re waiting to see what they do and what they decide.”
He says he’s reserving comment on the proposal right now.
“That’s really not something that I should do right now. This is something that’s in their precinct and as you well know that when we talk about issues that effect somebody’s precinct, that they need to take the lead on that. I’ve said that publicly and I’ve said that to Mayor White.”
A big portion of the stadium site is located in Commissioner El Franco Lee’s precinct.
“I’ll reach an opinion when the people that I have looking at this and the staff people that analyze TIRZ and what we do, I’ll have an opinion at that point. But right now, I don’t have enough information to be conversing with you about this.”
The city has spent over 15-million dollars in public funds to buy a six block site downtown just east of highway 59. East End Chamber of Commerce president Diane Litpon calls the Dynamo a sure thing.
“Seven other cities want MLS franchises, and only two of these are going to be awarded. That means that five of these cities are going to be fighting to try to attract Dynamo to their city. If we don’t have a deal to build a stadium by the end of this year, the Dynamo will be forced to consider some of these other offers.”
Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.