Councilman vows referendum on new Vegas MLS stadium

New Las Vegas MLS stadium

Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers will fight to give citizens a say on funding for a new Vegas MLS stadium via referendum, though his initial efforts on a ballot fight have been rebuffed.

Basically, Beers is fighting with city officials over the number of signatures needed to put the question of stadium funding on the June 2 ballot. Beers says 2,308 signatures are needed; city officials say 8,258 signatures are needed, based on a reading of state law that peg the number of signatures on a percentage of voters in the most recent election.

Findlay Sports & Entertainment and the Cordish Cos. have proposed a $200-million, 24,000-seat MLS stadium in downtown’s Symphony Place. The financial terms call for $25 million in direct stadium spending and another $31.5 million in infrastructure investments. The city would also contribute the downtown Symphony Place land — some 13 acres worth between $38 million and $48 million — and build a new parking garage for the team owners.

Beers opposed the measure when it was approved 4-3 by the City Council in December. Opponents of the spending have already begun collecting signatures, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

On Monday, Beers fired back in a letter aimed at Acting City Clerk LuAnn Holmes, disputing her determination of how many signatures are needed to qualify the “Parks Protection Committee” initiative for the next general city election ballot. The committee has already begun collecting signatures.

Beers said he’ll submit the letter Tuesday — City Hall was closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

“While the law is clear that the city must use turnout from the last city election, even if it is a primary instead of a general, the city contends it can break the law if it believes the law is unconstitutional,” Beers wrote in the two-page letter.

This is a process story, to be sure, but it has some ramifications for MLS expansion. A disagreement like this could end up in the courts and delay any final decision on a new Vegas MLS stadium. That delay could push Vegas from consideration when MLS makes some final decisions on expansion this year.

RELATED STORIES: Las Vegas soccer stadium subsidy approved; Could AEG be key to Vegas MLS hopes?; Council approves new Las Vegas MLS stadium–with no public funding; Findlay: Las Vegas could land MLS expansion team

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