Letters to the Editor

As most of us know around here, North Augusta has embarked on a grand experiment as a “destination” location with sub-A minor league baseball stadium, a hotel to match and parking decks. They borrowed $69,450,000 to make those dreams come true. Wouldn’t you think you could go to their consolidated financial report and get a feel for how that project is doing?

I urge you to visit the City of North Augusta's website and tell us how they are faring against their predictions. You can find out how many gallons of water the Lulu’s Car Wash used last year, but you won’t find out anything about this glorious experiment other than a “pass through” corporation – the North Augusta Public Facilities Corporation – has purchased those bonds. Before they entered this money pit, they made grand predictions on tax revenues, stadium revenue, hospitality taxes, admission taxes and parking revenues, to show how the revenues would exceed the debt service by 20%. Where is that “how goes it” report? North Augusta City Council doesn’t know.

Let’s take one piece of that revenue stream that data is available for. North Augusta predicted the stadium would generate $70,000 in tax revenue in 2018. In fact the stadium only generated $18,000 from the 2.5% admission tax which equates to $773,000 in admission fees. But, wait, haven’t you heard the stadium broke all baseball records in attendance growth with 255,155 in attendance for 2018? If you divide the revenue by the attendance, the average cost of admission was $2.87 – a far cry from the expected $10 fee. If this is so far off, what else is wrong?

Ask a city council member – that sound you hear will be one big collective shoulder shrug. And if you are on City Council start demanding public reports and let the taxpayers know what’s going on.

By the way, Lulu’s used 5,080,000 gallons of water.

Steve Donohue

North Augusta