SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Fanfare and fallout over the Sacramento Kings proposed arena before a vote to approve financing for the project.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced an oversight committee to make sure the city receives the community benefits team owners are promising on Monday.
But at the same time, a watchdog group is warning the project could be much more pricey than it seems.
Sirens stopped Johnson during a speech intended to fire up arena supporters. The mayor, backed by selected community members to watch over the community benefits the publicly funded Kings arena will bring to Sacramento.
Labor, faith-based and elected leaders were picked to watch what the team is promising to deliver to the city. The deal is similar to one agreed to in Los Angeles for the building of the Staples Center.
The team’s agreement include a low-income hiring plan, a union construction contract, making 60 percent of construction workers local, and a $5.5 million contribution to art in public places at the arena.
NOt selected for the committee was the leader of the Sacramento Coalition for Shared Prosperity, who has lobbied for the Kings owners to contribute money for affordable housing, sustainable wages, and private security for neighbors bordering the arena.
“Not everything has to be hung on the Christmas tree that has become the arena,” said Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen.
A Sacramento government watchdog called Eye on Sacramento issued a blistering report on the project. It criticizes the cost of public billboards and parking spaces that hike the total value of the arena public subsidy to $330—far more than the $258 million figure the city and Kings repeatedly use.
With interest, those reports say the cost for the arena could be more than $700 million.
Groundbreaking for the arena is set for August with a planned 2016 opening.