Stadium taxes may tempt Gary

January 26, 1995|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

The lure of $6.9 million a year in revenue from an NFL stadium in Laurel might be enough to turn Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary into a believer.

The revenue projection was included in a study released this month by Arthur Anderson & Co. The figures it offers would be enough to trigger the two incentives Mr. Gary has said he would offer the Washington Redskins: a break on property taxes worth as much as $2 million -- which would cut into the $6.9 million figure -- and the use of county revenue bonds to finance infrastructure improvements, such as roads.

"He has always used a working figure of $5 million to $6 million as significant revenue," said Larry R. Telford, a Gary administration spokesman.

Asked whether the projected amusement tax and property tax revenue indicated in the Arthur Anderson report is enough to interest Mr. Gary in the project, Mr. Telford said, "If the report is accurate, I guess you could say yes."

Mr. Gary met Tuesday afternoon in the Arundel Center with Redskins representatives Harry C. Blumenthal and J. William Pitcher and team lobbyist Gerard E. Evans.

"Basically, they were just updating us," said Mr. Telford. "The only thing we're going to say on our end is nothing significant came out of the meeting. . . . From our perspective, nothing big has changed since the last meeting."

Mr. Evans also played down the importance of the meeting and refused to discuss specifics of what was said.

"It involves very sensitive legal and political issues," Mr. Evans said.

Mr. Evans reaffirmed that the Redskins are committed to Laurel. "We are going to redouble our efforts in Laurel, and we're moving ahead," he said. "It's going to happen in Laurel."

Officials of the National Football League team have hinted in past meetings that team owner Jack Kent Cooke might start looking at other sites if the process in Anne Arundel bogs down, but that issue was not raised Tuesday, Mr. Telford said.

Mr. Evans said there are many possible sites for the proposed stadium but that the Redskins are not considering them.

"Everyone who's got 200 acres wants to sell it to Jack Kent Cooke for a stadium. But we're moving ahead in Laurel," he said.

Mr. Gary said last month that he would support the stadium only if the Redskins could show that it would make money for the county and if problems pointed out by a hearing officer in October could be solved.

Mr. Gary also is insisting that the Redskins follow the county's permit process.

Mr. Cooke announced plans more than a year ago to build a stadium in Laurel and move his team from Washington. After six weeks of hearings, an administrative hearing officer denied permission to build on the site, saying it was too small.

The team is scheduled to take its case to the Board of Appeals on March 27. That hearing is expected to last six months.

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