Miller Park will take several more years to pay off

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Miller Park will take several more years to pay off

By Charles Benson. CREATED Mar 11, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 11, 2014

MILWAUKEE - It's going to take taxpayers longer - perhaps a lot longer - to pay for Miller Park. 

Original projections had the stadium sales tax ending this year. Then it was 2017. Now the worst case scenario is 2021.
 
But stadium officials say that does not mean taxpayers are paying more for Miller Park.
 
Taxpayers in five counties pay a penny in sales tax for every $10 to help pay for Miller Park. 
 
Costing county residents like Paul Jones at Kelley's Bleachers about $10 each year.
 
"I think as long as the stadium is paid off, yeah, it'd been nice to go back to what it was but I don't think it's a big deal," said Jones.  
 
The stadium sales tax in Milwaukee, Racine, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties started in 1996. 
 
Financial consultants for the stadium district released a new projected sunset date on Tuesday.
 
"We can expect to retire the tax somewhere between the years 2018 and 2020," said Mike Duckett, Executive Director of the stadium district.
 
Sales tax revenue growth fell below expectations, tax collections are down  $112 million the last 10 years.
 
But Duckett says taxpayers are not being asked to pay more.    
 
"It's not that we are collecting more money to meet the Miller Park obligation. It's taking us longer to collect the same amount of money." 
 
Miller Park has averaged nearly a million more fans a year than County Stadium and that's worth it to Brewers fan Nick Sisler.
 
"You've got people coming in from all over. It brings a lot to the city," said Sisler.
 
Some worry the stadium sales will be extended to help build a new downtown sports arena, but that can't happen unless state lawmakers agree to it.
Charles Benson

Charles Benson

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Charles Benson is one of the most reliable, trusted and experienced reporters in southeast Wisconsin. If there's a big story going on, Charles is usually there leading the way.