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Mpls. Council Member Hodges calls budget hearing on stadium

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 17, 2012 - 4:41 PM

The number of City Council meetings on the Vikings stadium next week just rose to three.

Council Member Betsy Hodges, chair of the city's budget committee, said Thursday afternoon that her committee will review the stadium plan with city staff on Monday afternoon. The Council will then vote on the legislation twice later in the week, on Thursday and Friday.

“This is a huge financial decision that’s been made for the city, especially in terms of our capital budget around Target Center and convention center," said Hodges, an opponent of the stadium plan. "And there’s a lot of questions left to be answered.”

The committee will not take a vote or hear public testimony, Hodges said. Key testifiers will include the city's chief finance officer Kevin Carpenter, convention center head Jeff Johnson and city lobbyist Gene Ranieri.

The plan, which already passed the Legislature, calls for redirecting city sales taxes currently obligated for convention center debt when those bonds are paid off in 2020.

Thursday's intergovernmental relations commitee meeting should also prove eventful.

Council Member Gary Schiff, another opponent of the plan, said that he plans to offer a series of riders to the city's support that would likely need to be ratified by the Legislature if passed by the Council. They include extending the team's lease beyond 30 years and offsetting the city's share with user fees.

“To simply vote yes or no and to miss the opportunity to advocate for taxpayers and make this a better deal is to misunderstand the legislative process," Schiff said.

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