2003 - 2004
April 30, 2004
Sever city's tie to Generals
The city's decision to bail out the Generals to keep the hockey team viable should go down as a regrettable experiment that should not be repeated.
Greensboro taxpayers will find out soon whether they'll be asked to fork over more money to keep the Greensboro Generals minor-league hockey team afloat for another season. City Manager Ed Kitchen says a recommendation is forthcoming in his proposed budget for fiscal year 2004-05, to be released Tuesday.
City Council members have legitimate reservations about continuing last season's highly unusual arrangement, in which the city-owned Greensboro Coliseum assumed operation of the financially troubled team while its owners sought new investors.
Apparently new investors have yet to step forward, so coliseum Managing Director Matt Brown wants the city to continue funding the team's operations for a second season. His request shouldn't make it beyond Kitchen's desk. If it does, the City Council must take the only reasonable next step and remove it from the budget.
Attendance at home games was a losing proposition this season, with the average declining by nearly 200 from the previous season. And although Brown once predicted the team would come close to breaking even that is now questionable. His figures included $200,000 that the team's owners promised to pay the coliseum to offset the expense of running the team, but the drive to raise that money has run into trouble. To compound the city's liability, it has just been added as a defendant in a lawsuit claiming the Generals' former management defrauded a former coach.
Brown argues the Generals are too valuable to lose as an anchor tenant. In reality the coliseum would be better off seeking tenants who can pay the rent. The city saved the Generals from folding once and could wind up paying for it. It's time the team fended for itself.