A dramatic drop in sales tax
revenues has imperiled the Southeast Wisconsin Professional
Baseball Park Districtís prediction the sales tax that
helped finance the construction and maintenance of Miller
Park could sunset in 2014.
The baseball season always heats up as summer comes into its full
glory, and with it the debate about the one-tenth-cent sales tax
levied on five southeastern Wisconsin counties to pay for Miller
Park renews itself for another year.
A dramatic drop in sales tax revenues has imperiled the Southeast
Wisconsin Profess-ional Baseball Park Districtís prediction the
sales tax could sunset in 2014, and the longer itís in place, the
more taxpayers will end up shelling out, according to County Board
Supervisor Mark McCune of the town of Erin.
Stadium tax revenues pay not only for the debt of Miller Parkís
construction, but also for improvements to the park by contributing
to segregated funds. The Milwaukee Brewersí lease on the stadium
stipulated that if 75 percent of other Major League Baseball
stadiums include an amenity, the stadium district will install it
with the use of these funds.
These funds paid for such improvements as the ribbon board, a
narrow video screen which wraps around the grandstand at the base of
the Club Level, among other improvements, according to McCune, who
was recently appointed to the stadium district board by County Board
Chairman Herb Tennies.
"Thereís a bunch of supervisors that were really shocked
that we had to do that but unfortunately we donít have any say in
that. It was in the contract," McCune said. "A lot of it
is cut and dry with the original contracts and the lease."
Stadium district Executive Director Michael Duckett said the
district assumed control of Milwaukee County Stadium in its final
years and he saw firsthand the code issues the then-42-year-old park
was encountering - from pipes bursting and spraying people to
falling chunks of concrete. He has since warmed to the idea of the
segregated fund, even though it is collected from the sales tax,
because it gives the district leverage as owner of the stadium.