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Key Vote On Parking Plan Before City Council Tonight

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’s hopeful after tonight’s City Council vote, he’ll be able to give the NBA a dollar amount of what the city will be able to contribute to a new downtown arena when both sides meet in New York on Friday.

“This is actually the last piece for us as a community to get the ball in the hoop,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to wait ’till March. I’d love to have something before us, a financing plan, at the end of January.”

Most of the money will come from the city’s plan to privatize public parking. A city contracted study found that Sacramento could collect somewhere in the range of $170 to $245 million.

“In terms of telling the NBA that we are taking a big step, certainly that’s true,” Johnson said of the importance of tonight’s vote.

City Councilmember Steve Cohn says he will vote yes to move forward on the parking plan for the city to take bids from parking vendors. But Cohn admits that there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, including how the $9 million generated by city parking that goes into the general fund be replaced.

“We are in tough times and we can not be taking money out of anything,” Cohn said. “We need to look for ways to increase the city treasury, not less.”

The mayor says he’s confident those issues can be solved and that tonight’s vote will move the city much closer to building the arena.

His analogy on how close?

“We’re at a 3-point shot,” he said.

Does Cohn agree?

“There’s a lot of tough work ahead, and he’s a better shooter than I am, so maybe it’s an easy shot for him. For me a 3-pointer is not easy,” Cohn said.

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