SAN FRANCISCO - Voters in Industry, Calif., approved $500 million of general obligation bonds Tuesday, including $150 million to finance infrastructure needed for a proposed National Football League stadium.
Voters approved the GO measure by a margin of 60 to 1. The city has just 84 registered voters. The referendum required a two-thirds margin for approval.
Industry - home to 800 people and 2,500 businesses that employ about 80,000 workers - hopes the infrastructure spending will help lure an NFL team back to the Los Angeles area 15 years after the region lost the Rams to St. Louis and the Raiders to Oakland in 1994.
The city plans to use the bond authorization over many years and will spend most of the money on infrastructure that's not related to the stadium, city manager Kevin Radecki said in an interview. He said local voters approved $250 million of GOs in 1978, an authorization that provided for the city's building needs for 30 years.
Radecki said it's too early to provide a specific project list or schedule of issuance for the GOs.
The $500 million authorization makes it possible for the city to build roads, sewer connections, and other infrastructure that would support billionaire developer Edward P. Roski's proposed $800 million stadium, retail, office, and entertainment complex.
Roski, chairman and chief executive officer of Majestic Realty Co., was one of the developers of the Staples Center in Los Angeles and in 2008 ranked 163d on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America. He says he will privately finance the stadium itself.
Last year, he proposed building a 75,000-seat Los Angeles Stadium, 1.5 million square feet of office space, and almost one million square feet of retail and restaurant space on 592 acres of Industry land in eastern Los Angeles County.
The Industry City Council is scheduled to consider certifying a supplemental environmental impact report on the project tomorrow. The project must still overcome opposition from the neighboring communities of Walnut and Diamond Bar, which have threatened to sue over the additional traffic and congestion a stadium would bring.
Industry, which was founded in 1957, is a major manufacturing hub for companies such as Teledyne Technologies Inc. and Reuland Electric Co. More than 90% of the city's land is zoned for industrial use, with the balance zoned for commercial uses such as retail and service businesses.
The city garners most of its income from sales taxes. It's the location of the large Puente Hills Mall, which houses retailers such as Macy's, Sears, and Circuit City. Industry, which was founded to create a home for businesses in the San Gabriel Valley, charges no business license or utility taxes.
The city was in the news earlier this month because the Internal Revenue Service preliminarily determined that $68.1 million of Industry Urban Development Agency tax allocation bonds - sold in 2003 to finance acquisition of property, as well as highway and water projects - are taxable because the agency didn't spend proceeds within the required amount of time after issuance.
The development agency said in a filing that it would work with the IRS to make sure the debt remains tax-exempt.