Los Angeles County's chief administrative officer, concluding that a new Raiders stadium in Irwindale would be a net economic benefit to the county, intends to negotiate a pact for the use of county-leased land for stadium parking and recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve it, an aide said Monday.
Securing the use of the more than 50 acres of land in the Santa Fe Dam area north of the Foothill Freeway has been a major part of Irwindale's efforts to ensure that the Aug. 20 deal with the Los Angeles Raiders is fully consummated by a Nov. 4 deadline.
Without land for parking, the Irwindale-Raider deal could collapse and if it does, Irwindale stands to lose its $10-million cash advance to the Raiders.
While four of the five county supervisors originally expressed doubts about providing the land, some supervisors reportedly are wavering in the face of heavy lobbying by Irwindale.
Chief Administrative Officer Richard B. Dixon will insist that Irwindale agree to give the county nearly 50% of any additional tax revenue collected as a result of the Raider moves, according to Jerry Roos, a Dixon aide.
In disclosing the plan to negotiate an agreement with Irwindale, Roos explained that increased tax revenue due to redevelopment projects, such as the new Raiders stadium, normally is retained by city Redevelopment Agencies.
But he said that the county often has insisted that, in exchange for its cooperation on redevelopment projects, cities sign over the 46% to 47% share of property tax revenues the county gets from properties not under redevelopment.
So, he indicated, in order to get an endorsement from Dixon for an agreement to allow Irwindale to use the county land for stadium parking, the Irwindale authorities are going to have to enter into a similar agreement. The county holds the land under a 50-year lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Xavier Hermosillo, an Irwindale city spokesman, responded, "We are certainly open to any discussions that will result in a win-win situation for everyone."
As for Dixon's analysis, Hermosillo said, "We're certainly glad that after a thorough review they now understand that we have negotiated a deal that is in the best interests of the people of Los Angeles County, and in no circumstances a sweetheart giveaway."
Raider attorney Jeff Birren said Dixon's report "validates the position of the Raiders and Irwindale that this will be good for the county."
Dixon's findings were contained in a Sept. 18 letter released Monday and sent earlier to each of the five county supervisors.
In the letter, Dixon made these points:
--Construction of a new stadium in Irwindale would generate more beneficial economic activity for the county than the Coliseum remodeling the Raiders said was essential to prevent them from moving. "As currently proposed, close to $100 million of general construction would occur under the Irwindale proposal," Dixon wrote. "This is in contrast to the $15 million to be spent to renovate the Coliseum."
-- Also, the new stadium could mean more tax revenue for the county because it "could increase . . . property values in Irwindale and adjacent communities. . . . Adjacent communities may also experience increased commercial development which may further benefit the county."
-- The county has little to lose in revenues as a result of a Raider move away from the Coliseum. "The county does not share in any of the revenues generated by the Coliseum or the Sports Arena. The only county department that would be affected by the move is the Museum of Natural History," and it would lose only about $12,000 in annual parking revenue. The only other revenue the county would lose is the $6,000 in possessory interest taxes it collects from the Raiders.
Offsetting Tax Gains
-- By contrast, conclusion of an agreement with Irwindale could result in much more substantial tax gains for the county.
Dixon, in his letter, also appeared to take note of frequent Irwindale arguments that if plans for the Raider move to the city collapse, the team will choose to move out of the Los Angeles area rather than continue to play in the Coliseum.
"The most serious economic loss would be for the Los Angeles Raiders to leave Los Angeles County entirely as compared to their movement within the county," he said.
He said that materials provided by the National Football League indicated that a team is worth approximately $50 to $100 million per year to an area.