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City Of Mesa Has New Plan To Keep Cubs In Arizona

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The City of Mesa, Arizona today announced a new plan to keep the Cubs in Arizona that does not involve any taxes on local residents.

Before I ask you to go past the jump for details, I am going to ask everyone to keep their feelings about the recently passed Arizona immigration law to themselves in regards to this issue. While many here may have strong opinions on that law, they do not belong here and are not relevant to this announcement. Thank you.

Now, follow me for the details.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and other local leaders today held a news conference to announce that they will sell land that Mesa owns in Pinal County, originally purchased for its water rights, to help finance a new stadium for the Cubs:

Smith also said Mesa will not ask voters in November to approve bonds to pay for the city's share of the project, relying on the land sales instead. He said Mesa no longer needs the Pinal County land to assure its water supply.

Voters will, however, be asked to approve an increase in the bed tax to 5 percent from 3 percent, bringing it in line with recent hikes in Scottsdale and Tempe. The $1 million increase in revenues from the bed tax would be applied to the $5-6 million estimated debt service on the new stadium.

Mesa has an assured supply of water to handle its maximum population and no longer considers it practical or politically feasible to use water allocated to another county, they said.

"The odds of the City of Mesa receiving one drop of that water from that land are slim to none," Smith said.

Smith said Pinal County farmland would be sold off gradually as needed during a 5 to 15 year period to maximum market conditions. He said Mesa doesn't need to sell any land yet because construction on the new stadium wouldn't start until 2012, with the first pitch thrown in 2013.

All funds used on the Cubs training facilities would come out of the city's enterprise fund, which includes revenues from utilities, the convention center and golf courses, and not the general fund, which finances basic government services.

This all makes sense to me. I hope to update this story later this afternoon. The article says that the Cubs are not officially commenting at this time.