SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson may be the face of the effort to save the Kings, but Sacramento’s city manager is the man in charge of putting the dollars together for any arena deal.
John Shirey is now pushing up the timetable to get an arena deal done to March 23 — just 17 days away — but he’s not sweating despite not having a deal yet.
“We don’t have a deal right now. No,” the Shirey said. “I don’t really feel public pressure to get a deal done. I think what we’re trying to do is be smart.”
Shirey will have to be smart and savvy with less than three weeks to reach an arena financing deal he’s negotiating with billionaire businessmen Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov.
A year ago, Sacramento’s city council passed a $255 million public subsidy with lots of fanfare to fund an arena at the railyards along with the Maloofs, which ultimately failed.
Now the question is how much will the city pitch in this time?
“There’s an expectation, that on people’s parts, that maybe now since we have prospective owners that really do have financial resources that there should be a greater burden on them,” said Shirey of the public expecting to contribute a lower subsidy for an area.
But Shirey also said the more public dollars the city contributes, the more Sacramento could recoup in tax revenue.
“This may be a case where if our financial assistance isn’t less, we get more for our money,” she said.
Both sides started informal talks a month ago, and Shirey confirmed at that time the Mastov-Burkle team asked for more public money.
“Obviously the parties wanted to know what was possible last year and what more we could do. Well, we can’t do anything more,” said Shirey.
Shirey wants to present an arena deal term sheet by March 23. However, this will not be a binding contract.