Local News

Oct 7, 2013 4:57 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Paying off Stadium Debt Early Could Free Up Money for Streets

CORPUS CHRISTI - A new plan from the city could put more money into residential street repair in the next few years, and it all has to do with Whataburger Field.

Many of you at home may have refinanced your house at some point, and the city does that too from time to time. Only in this case, the house is the baseball field.

The refinancing means the city will pay off its debt sooner, leaving a tax in place that will need a new purpose, and that purpose could be streets.

If the city refinances its debt for the field, it will pay a lower interest rate for the next few years, and the bond will be paid off early in 2017 instead of 2018, one year ahead of schedule.

For years, residents have been paying a one-eighth cent tax to pay for the field, but if the debt is paid off early, there will be an extra $2.5 million left over.

The city could repurpose that money for residential street repair with approval from the taxpayers through a vote.

Councilman David Loeb says it's all about finding sources of money where they can for street repair.

"We're interested in making sure that we set up systems that are sustainable where we're not just spending some money so we could say we spent money, but setting it up where we have long-term improvement and long-term rebuilding of our streets," he says.

The city is considering a similar refinancing process for the arena at the American Bank Center. The council estimates that another possible $2.5 million could come out of that refinancing as well.

To be clear, this will not affect the street maintenance fee. This money is for road re-construction.

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