The Fresno City Council plans to vote on a proposal to renegotiate the California Grizzlies Minor League Baseball team’s lease at the city’s bond-financed $46 million Chukchansi Park.
The deal provides the team with more than $600,000 a year in subsidies to keep the struggling San Francisco Giants farm team alive and paying $1.5 million a year in rent at the stadium. Debt service on the stadium bonds is about $3.5 million a year.
The city would have to dip into its beleaguered general fund for maintenance and capital expenses at the stadium, which has drawn fewer visitors than the team and the city expected when the stadium was built in 2000.
Fresno is facing deep cuts in public services and layoffs of 125 city workers because of a $28 million general fund deficit for fiscal 2010 and 2011.
The new lease provisions would extend the team’s lease by five years and give the city a share of concession revenues and of any profits the team might eventually make.
The City Council will vote on the plan Dec. 17.
The Fresno Bee reported Tuesday that several City Council members have expressed “grudging support” for the renegotiated lease proposal, which was presented to the council last week.