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Let's Do the Math ...City Council don't make the affordable housing error with the Rays Hines deal.

The Tampa Bay Times editorial St. Petersburg is spending $500,000 a unit to subsidize affordable housing. Seriously? describes local taxpayers' excessive contribution to build 24 townhomes.

Council Members: please don't make the same mistake with $1.6 billion of taxpayer money earmarked for the Rays Hines deal.

St. Petersburg City Council approved a project that will require more than $12 million in subsidies to build 24 townhomes on Fairfield Avenue in the area known as The Deuces.

"Not 240 townhomes. Just 24."

"This financial free-for-all is the latest example of how good intentions ...can lead to poor decisions."

The city expects to sell each home from $223,000 to $317,000. "The math is where this one leaves the trail." The total cost is about $19.1 million of which about $6.3 million will come from the sale of the units. The rest? You guessed it - government coffers."

It was up to the St. Petersburg Council Members and by a vote of 5-2 they approved the deal. The Times points out that the members who approved it "went through some Olympic-class mental gymnastics to justify their votes with reasoning such as "Yes, it's a lot of money, but homeownership is vital" and "yes, it's a massive subsidy, but the will help the area thrive."

As the Times goes on to say. "'s a bad deal." "...the city could do so much more with the money." ..."the price was too high."

"The flawed thinking also raises worrying questions as the council contemplates whether to support the multibillion-dollar plan to redevelop the Tropicana Field site where the Tampa Bay Rays play home games. It's one thing to flub a $20 million deal. Get the Rays deal wrong, and city could be paying a heavy price for decades." "City Council members' main job is to be solid stewards of our tax dollars. "

City Council Members - is the Rays Hines proposed deal to build a stadium also a financial free-for-all? If the deal is approved by you, would it be a poor decision? Would it be a bad deal? Just as the Times said about this affordable housing deal, the math of the Rays Hines proposed deal is where it leaves the trail.

  • The Ray Hines deal would also tap government coffers... not for $20 million, but for $1.6 billion of St. Petersburg city taxpayers' resources and $808 million for Pinellas County. (Reference our Analysis.)

  • It will be a heavy price for decades and sap critical funds that the city needs for so many high priorities, including $700 million for stormwater improvements, new facilities, education, and affordable housing (financed the right way).

City Council Members... please don't go through some Olympic-class mental gymnastics to justify your vote for the Rays Hines proposal. I have yet to hear anyone provide one concrete fact that justifies the huge transfer of public funds to billionaires for a new stadium. In addition, more 75% of the public that have been polled don't like the deal.

As you contemplate, please don't justify approving the proposed Rays Hines deal, as-is, based on some of the flawed thinking I have heard such as: "Do you know how hard it was to get baseball." What does that have to do with logic moving forward? Or "we need baseball to anchor and activate the Gas Plant Site." Really? Have you seen the new development exploding all around the site?"

City Council members we implore you... we all like having the Rays in our area, but your main job is to be solid stewards of our tax dollars.



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