Evansville Mayor Opposed to Ballpark Tax

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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)


Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said a revenue stream is needed to fund repairs at Bosse Field, but he opposes a tax levy for that purpose.

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp., owner of the 102-year-old baseball park, has advocated a levy of 0.005 cents tax per $100 assessed value. Legislative action is required for the EVSC to impose the levy. It was included in legislation that passed the Indiana House on Feb. 27.

The levy could be used for projects at other historic structures, such as the Old Courthouse, according to the EVSC.

Vanderburgh County Council President John Montrastelle signed a letter to local lawmakers in support of the tax levy. Winnecke, though, said he will soon propose an alternative funding source.

Winnecke did not elaborate on Wednesday. Although revenue from the Jacobsville Tax Increment Finance District might be one possibility. City leaders have said the Jacobsville TIF will be used to retire as much as $18 million in construction bonds on the North Main Street renovation, which is to finish later this year.

Winnecke said the increases in water and sewer rates city residents will face over the next several years make him want to look at other choices for Bosse Field.

"I think we have a viable option that the community would support because it would help Bosse Field, and it would not represent an increase in taxes," Winnecke said. "Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can nail this thing down, and I've communicated that to the stakeholders."

Bosse Field since 1995 has been home to the Evansville Otters, a professional baseball club in the independent Frontier League. It hosts some annual high school baseball games and other events, such as the SWIRCA Beer Fest fundraiser.

The ballpark, which opened in 1915, is in need of a new electrical system, lights and a roof, EVSC Superintendent David Smith has said.

Those upgrades would cost more than $1.5 million. The 0.005 tax levy, depending on countywide assessed value in a given year, would generate about $300,000, Smith said.

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March 16, 2017


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