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Taxpayers to foot only 1/3 of proposed stadium bill | News

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Taxpayers to foot only 1/3 of proposed stadium bill

ATLANTA -- Taxpayers can expect to pay 1/3 of the cost of the proposed, new Falcons stadium -- not 100 percent of the cost, as was the case with the Georgia Dome -- but taxpayers will hold 100 percent ownership of the new stadium, according to Frank Poe, Executive Director of the Georgia World Congress Center.

"The public sector will own 100 percent of the new stadium for 30 cents on the dollar," Poe said. 

Poe spoke at a public forum hosted by Common Cause Georgia at Sale Hall Auditorium on the campus of Morehouse College on Monday night.  

One purpose of the forum was for Poe to explain the need for a public-private partnership to build the new stadium.  While the public would kick in one-third of the costs -- more than $300 million -- the remaining two-thirds would come from the Falcons, the NFL and other private-sector sources. 

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Poe said that based on the revenues generated by the 20-year-old Georgia Dome -- revenues from both Falcons events and non-Falcons events -- taxpayers could expect to receive from the new stadium a huge return on their one-third investment, totalling hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues annually, including additional tax revenues.

"It is important for both Atlanta and Georgia taxpayers to engage in the process and make sure their voices are heard," said Common Cause Georgia Boardmember Wyc Orr. "Our goal is to host an event that will give the public an update on negotiations between the Georgia World Congress Center, a public authority, and the Atlanta Falcons, a private entity, but certainly one that highly values and needs the public trust. This is an opportunity for all members of the public to have direct, person-to-person communications with those who are conducting these negotiations which will have such a direct impact on the public treasury."

Poe said the Georgia World Congress Center and the Falcons are expected to sign off on their business deal for the new stadium by December 31st., a deal that will specify the details, such as who will pay for what, who will be liable for what, and how the revenues will be shared and for how long.  

After that, the design would be chosen, along with the location (it would be located either directly north of the World Congress Center/Georgia Dome complex, or directly south of it), and the architect; and construction plans would then proceed with input from the City of Atlanta and the Fulton County Commission and the public every step of the way, Poe said.

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