Tampa councilman Frank Riddick opposes public money for a Rays stadium

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Councilmember Frank Reddick doesn’t like the idea of the Rays moving to a downtown Tampa stadium, according to Preston Rudie of WTSP/10 News.

“I do not support taxpayer dollars going towards a stadium,” said Reddick, who represents District 5, one of the prime locations for a proposed stadium.

Reddick also chairs the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area, which controls the TIF funds, or tax-increment financing, from the downtown area that could go towards a stadium, if there is one.

Tampa’s downtown TIF began in 1988 primarily to fund the Tampa Convention Center. It currently collects nearly $13 million every year. The bonds paying for the Convention Center will be paid off in 2016; after that, the money could be used to pay for a stadium, suggests Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Reddick doesn’t agree.

“The mayor doesn’t have the power to override the CRA board, which is the city council,” he told 10 News, “so we’re going to have some input and I think, down the road, I’ll play a significant role in how those dollars will be utilized.”

Councilmember Charlie Miranda sides with Reddick, by going on the records in opposing tax money for a downtown Tampa Rays stadium.

CRA funds will be up for discussion when the City Council meets on Feb. 13, where funding a stadium is only one of the proposed plans for the money.

Since the City of St. Petersburg still needs to negotiate terms of a release for the Rays from Tropicana Field, planning on the Rays moving may be premature.

A recent StPetePolls survey found 65 percent of residents do not want to use public funds for a Tampa stadium, 25 percent favor the idea and 10 percent were undecided.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.